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Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Disclaimer – please read
This page does not apply outside Great Britain.
Last updated 3rd May 2017.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to ‘Great Britain’, namely England, Wales and Scotland. The Act does not apply to Northern Ireland, so most of this website does not apply there.


Great Britain

Great Britain = England, Wales and Scotland. This is where the Equality Act 2010 applies.

The sources I use for this website relate principally to England, so the website focuses on England.

However, since the Equality Act 2010 also applies to Scotland and Wales, this website will largely also be applicable to Scotland and Wales. There are also some specific points below on Scotland and Wales.

Northern Ireland

Equality Act 2010 does not apply to Northern Ireland (apart from minor exceptions). Northern Ireland is part of the ‘United Kingdom’ but not of Great Britain.

The main anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland is the old Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), which used to also apply to the rest of the UK. However, since this area of law is devolved, the DDA 1995 has been substantially amended by the Northern Ireland legislature. Generally anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland lags behind the rest of the UK. See my separate page on Northern Ireland.

Isle of Man and Channel Islands

The Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom and this website does not aim to cover them. There is a bit about them below – link down to Isle of Man and Channel Islands.


‘The Table’, a rock formation in the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Scotland has its own legal traditions, its own body of common law and statute law, its own system of courts, and its own legal profession. Scotland also has its own Scottish Parliament (external link), and power in certain fields has been transferred to this.

Even so, the Equality Act 2010 (before October 2010 the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) does apply in Scotland. It is subject to minor adaptations. For example, litigation on the goods and services provisions is heard by the sheriff court in Scotland.

In general, equal opportunities issues in Scotland are matters reserved to the Westminster Parliament in London (Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act). So in general changes to the Equality Act in Scotland are a matter for the Westminster Parliament. However, the Scottish Parliament does have certain powers in this field. These include the encouragement (other than by prohibition or regulation) of equal opportunities, and in particular encouraging the observance of equal opportunities legislation such as the Equality Act. For the ‘specific duties’ under the single Public Sector Equality Duty, there are separate regulations for Scotland (excluding non-devolved bodies).

The Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee conducted a Disability Inquiry in which the British Stammering Association (Scotland) participated. You can read about evidence given orally by people who stammer and download the BSA’s written submission at Equal Opportunities – Visit to Scottish Parliament (archive of stammering.org). The committee reported in 2006.

As regards education, British Stammering Association has resources for teachers in Scotland at www.stammeringineducation.net

There may well be differences in areas other than the Equality Act.


Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff, with Customs House in background. The words (in English) read “In these stones horizons sing”.

The National Assembly of Wales (external link) was established by the Government of Wales Act 1998. It does not pass primary legislation. In the areas where it is active, it only has functions which in England Ministers would exercise, in particular making regulations under Acts of Parliament passed at Westminster.

The Equality Act 2010 applies in Wales as it does in England. Functions in respect of it are not transferred to the Assembly. However, for the ‘specific duties’ under the single Public Sector Equality Duty taking effect in April 2011, there are separate regulations for Wales (excluding non-devolved bodies).

There are provisions in the Government of Wales Act on the need for the Assembly to have regard to equality of opportunity (sections 48 and 120).

The European Convention in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Broadly, the Human Rights Act 1998 implementing the European Convention on Human Rights also applies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Also the legislation establishing the relevant assemblies actually says that they have no power to enact legislation with contravenes the European Convention. So the Convention, including its provisions which impact disability discrimination, provides a constitutional limit on the competence of the devolved bodies.

The detailed rules are complex, and different for each region. However, issues as to whether legislation by an assembly complies with the Convention will generally be a “devolution issue”. Special procedures are laid down to deal with this in the courts. The ultimate court in the United Kingdom which can hear appeals in this area is generally the UK Supreme Court. Unlike with Acts of the Westminster Parliament, the courts actually have power to strike down legislation of the regional assemblies.

Where one of the devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland acts contrary to the Convention, it may be unclear whether action can be taken under the normal Human Rights Act provisions or whether it should instead be dealt with under the procedure for “devolved issues”.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, and this website does not cover it.

However, in 2016 an Equality Bill began its passage through the Tynwald. The Bill is very similar to Britain’s Equality Act 2010, and so should include stammering to a very large extent if it is interpreted in the same way. Like the Equality Act 2010, the Bill includes employment, education and provision of goods and services.

The European Convention of Human Rights (with the Island’s Human Rights Act 2001) could apply in some fields.

Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom and this website does not cover them. The main islands are