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Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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Last updated 5th January 2020 (part update 1st April, 2024).

The Equality Act 2010 applies to ‘Great Britain’, namely England, Wales and Scotland. The website has a separate shorter section on Northern Ireland. This page also deals briefly with the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.


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 normally 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 (subject to 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 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), which used to apply to the rest of the UK as well. However equality law has been devolved to Northern Ireland since 1998, so the law has evolved somewhat differently. In particular the changes made by Equality Act 2010 do not apply in Northern Ireland. Another difference from the rest of the UK is that under the Withdrawal Agreement, after Brexit Northen Ireland disability discrimination law must continue to meet EU law minimum standards. See my separate pages 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. Photo: Allan Tyrer

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 (www.parliament.scot), and power in certain fields has been transferred to this.

Even so, the Equality Act 2010 applies in Scotland. It is subject to minor adaptations. For example, litigation on the goods and services provisions in Scotland is heard by the sheriff court.

In general, equal opportunities issues in Scotland are 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, including 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 Public Sector Equality Duty, there are separate regulations for Scotland (excluding non-devolved bodies).

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

Disability Inquiry 2006, Scotland

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.

Teachers resources for Scotland

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


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

The Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament (senedd.wales) was established by the Government of Wales Act 1998 and has certain legislative powers. Nevertheless the Equality Act 2010 applies in Wales as it does in England.

Most functions in respect of equality are not transferred to the Senedd: Schedule 7A Section N1 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, amended in 2017, reserves “equal opportunities” to the Westminster Parliament in London subject to listed exceptions.

However, for the ‘specific duties’ under the Public Sector Equality Duty, there are separate regulations for Wales (excluding non-devolved bodies).

Up to May 2020 the Senedd was called the National Assembly for Wales, but it renamed itself through the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020.

The European Convention in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Broadly, the Human Rights Act 1998 implementing the European Convention on Human Rights extends to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Also the legislation establishing the relevant assemblies actually says 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.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, and this website does not cover it. However, from 1st January 2020, the Equality Act 2017 came fully into effect in the Isle of Man. The Equality Act 2017 is quite similar to – and seems to be largely taken from – Britain’s Equality Act 2010. The 2017 Act includes eg employment, service providers, and education including exams. Since a lot of it mirrors the Equality Act 2010, this website may be useful for it.

Human rights

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:

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