Scottish Just Law Centre

The Scottish Just Law Centre aims to reduce discrimination and disadvantage in Scotland by helping people use equalities and human rights law as an effective tool for social change.

Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful in the UK to treat someone less favourably than others because they have a ‘protected characteristic’ – this is known as discrimination.

The protected characteristics in the Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment (trans identity)
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race (including traveller ethnicity)
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

 

Examples of unlawful discriminatory treatment include:

  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) making it very difficult for someone with learning disabilities to claim Universal Credit, because the process is all online or by telephone, when paper claims (and other correspondence) would be easier for them to manage;
  • a local authority making it impossible for a disabled person with traveller heritage to take respite breaks in a campervan, because it has a policy that social care payments can never be used for vehicles;
  • the Home Office making transgender people out themselves each time they need to verify their immigration status, by basing their EU Settlement Scheme digital status upon their passport from their country of origin, which cannot be changed to reflect their lived identity because there is no legal gender recognition process there;
  • a further education college classifying an ESOL course as non-fundable by way of a bursary, when students on other comparable courses can be paid a bursary; and
  • a university failing to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled student, such as extra exam time, meaning they don’t qualify, and their career prospects are limited.

For more information see our factsheets on the Equality Act and Discrimination.


Human Rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 (the Act) came into force in 2000. It requires public authorities and those carrying out public services to respect and protect our human rights in everything they do.

The Act covers the following human rights:

  • Right to life
  • Prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment
  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Right to liberty and security
  • Right to a fair trial
  • No punishment without law
  • Right to respect for private and family life
  • Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Right to marry
  • Prohibition of discrimination (in relation to any of the other rights)
  • Protection of property
  • Right to education
  • Right to free elections

For more information see our factsheet on Human Rights Act claims.

 

Strategic cases

Often, discriminatory treatment and human rights breaches don’t just affect one person – they often stem from a policy or practice that affects numerous people. Taking legal action can therefore benefit many people, by getting a policy changed or a practice improved or stopped.

Our Scottish Just Law Centre therefore focuses on strategic public interest discrimination and human rights case work, with the aim of bringing about wide-scale positive social change.

Get in Touch

If you work in an organisation that represents individuals, or you are a frontline adviser or support worker, you can make a referral to us on behalf of a client or service user who has experienced discrimination or a breach of their human rights in Scotland.

If you are an individual member of the public who has experienced discrimination or a breach of human rights in Scotland, we may be able to direct you to sources of information or assistance and if this might be helpful you can also complete one of our online forms:

https://www.justrightscotland.org.uk/need-help/make-a-referral/

 

 

We are funded by:

The Baring Foundation logoLogo of Equality and Human Rights The Three Guineas Trust logo


Legal Factsheets

Access to Justice: Legal Aid (PDF)

These factsheets are to be used as a tool to outline your rights and to help improve access to justice here in Scotland.
They explain key ideas, definition, rights, and laws so that people and organisations know how to use the law to defend themselves
and others.

This factsheet is also available in:
initial action factsheet first page image

Access to Justice: Initial Action (PDF)

These factsheets are to be used as a tool to outline your rights and to help improve access to justice here in Scotland.
They explain key ideas, definition, rights, and laws so that people and organisations know how to use the law to defend themselves
and others.

This factsheet is also available in:
Judicial review, first page image of factsheet

Access to Justice: Judicial Review (PDF)

These factsheets are to be used as a tool to outline your rights and to help improve access to justice here in Scotland.
They explain key ideas, definition, rights, and laws so that people and organisations know how to use the law to defend themselves
and others. They contain general information, not legal advice.

This factsheet is also available in:
Equality Act claims first page image from factsheet

Access to Justice: Equality Act claims (PDF)

These factsheets are to be used as a tool to outline your rights and to help improve access to justice here in Scotland.
They explain key ideas, definition, rights, and laws so that people and organisations know how to use the law to defend themselves
and others. They contain general information, not legal advice.

This factsheet is also available in:
direct and indirect discrimination image from factsheet first page

Access to Justice: Direct & Indirect discrimination (PDF)

These factsheets are to be used as a tool to outline your rights and to help improve access to justice here in Scotland.
They explain key ideas, definition, rights, and laws so that people and organisations know how to use the law to defend themselves
and others. They contain general information, not legal advice.

This factsheet is also available in:

Resources

Access to Higher Education for migrant students is now a real right

  JustRight Scotland has been campaigning - together with Maryhill Integration Network and JustCitizens, to extend the right to access education for migrant students in Scotland for over two years....

Access to Justice and the Right to an Effective Remedy [Blog 1 – part 1]

Introduction - A Scottish Human Rights Bill By the end of June 2024, the Scottish Government (SG) will introduce a Bill to the Scottish Parliament (SP) that will bring a number of international human ...

Access to Justice and the Right to an Effective Remedy [Blog 1 – part 2]

What is the right to an effective remedy? The right to an effective remedy for breaches of human rights is a general principle of international human rights law and is expressly set out in most international...

Access to Justice and the Right to an Effective Remedy [Blog 1 – part 3]

Going to Court The Consultation does not have a lot to say on judicial remedies, focusing instead on administrative routes to remedy. While it is very important that people have free, highly accessible...

Challenging Discrimination: Launch of Free, Confidential, Second-Tier Advice Line

  The Scottish legal system is complex and constantly changing. Advisers and frontline workers who are supporting vulnerable people every day may need help too. For them, the Scottish Just Law...

EU Citizens and Access to Benefits: Time is Running Out for EU Citizens to Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

  Gwyn King, our specialist welfare expert and Senior Associate Solicitor in our Scottish Just Law Centre (SJLC) warns that time is running out for EU citizens and their family members to apply to...

Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland: We have submitted our legal briefing ahead of parliamentary debate 

  Ahead of the third stage debate and vote scheduled for next week at the Scottish Parliament on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill 2022 (GRRB), we have submitted a briefing to MSPs today...

Human Rights Act reform: we reject the UK Government proposals

  JustRight Scotland has rejected the UK Government plans to replace the Human Rights Act (HRA) as announced last December.  We have been working – together with other Scottish civil society and ...

Introducing our new social enterprise: JRS Knowhow 

We are proud to announce the launch of our brand new social enterprise JRS Knowhow. The start-up social enterprise was created in April 2021, marking almost exactly four years since JustRight Scotland was set...

JRS and Amnesty Scotland submit written evidence to the EHRCJ Committee on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill

  17 May 2022  JustRight Scotland and Amnesty Scotland have jointly submitted written evidence to the Equality, Human Rights and Civil Justice (EHRCJ) Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the ...

JustRight Scotland: Our statement on the Scottish Human Rights Bill Consultation

JustRight Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s consultation proposals for a Human Rights Bill published on 15th June as an important step towards realising #AllOurRights in Scotland.   By ...

Making Human Rights Justice a Reality Report shines a light on systemic barriers to justice and how to break them

  by Maisie Wilson   Over the past few months, we have been working with the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) on their latest report Make Human Rights Justice a Reality, along with Clan...

My first-year anniversary as Legal Caseworker for the Scottish Just Law Centre

My role at JustRight Scotland  As of the start of 2023, I have been with JustRight Scotland for a year, working as a Legal Caseworker for the Scottish Just Law Centre (SJLC). And what a year it has...

New Plan for Immigration Consultation: A Briefing for Scottish Civil Society Organisations

On 24 March 2021, the UK Government published its New Plan for Immigration, which sets out various proposals for changes to nationality, immigration and asylum law.  The consultation invites members of...

New Plan for Immigration Consultation: Our Response

On 24 March 2021, the UK Government published its New Plan for Immigration, which sets out various proposals for changes to nationality, immigration and asylum law. JustRight Scotland and our JustCitizens...

Protecting gender equality on public boards in Scotland

By Gwyn King The Scottish Government acknowledged some time ago that public decision makers in Scotland are often not representative enough of the diverse society in which they operate, or inclusive...

Response to Independent Review on the Human Rights Act

We have submitted a response to the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), in response to its call for evidence which closed on 3 March 2021. Our submission makes it clear that we see ...

Rights for particular groups: going as far as devolution allows [Blog 2 – part 1]

A blog series By Barbara Bolton, Legal Director and Partner   In addition to economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, the Taskforce recommended incorporation of: the Convention on the...

Rights for particular groups: going as far as devolution allows [Blog 2 – part 2]

A blog series By Barbara Bolton, Legal Director and Partner   We set out our own analysis below, explaining why in our view the SG and SP could incorporate a number of substantive rights from CRPD,...

Rights for particular groups: going as far as devolution allows [Blog 2 – part 3]

A blog series By Barbara Bolton, Legal Director and Partner   Devolved competence All Scottish Parliament (“SP”) legislation must be within competence, as set by the Scotland Act, which reserves ...

Scotland’s Human Rights Bill: an opportunity to strengthen human rights and access to justice in Scotland

Scotland’s Human Rights Bill: an opportunity to strengthen human rights and access to justice in Scotland A blog series by Barbara Bolton, Legal Director and Partner   Introduction As the Scottish...

Scottish human rights organisations unite to reject “unnecessary, regressive and divisive” plans to replace Human Rights Act

Responding to the UK Government’s announcement today that it plans to replace the Human Rights Act, five leading Scottish human rights organisations have released a joint statement calling the proposals...

Scottish Trans joins legal challenge to protect trans people’s equal participation in the next Scottish Census

PRESS RELEASE Equality charity says that attempt to overturn well established guidance for trans men and trans women answering the Census is ‘misguided’ and will send a message that ‘they aren’t counted...

The Scottish Census 2022 and the “Sex” Question

  Gwyn King, Scottish Just Law Centre If you live in Scotland and haven’t already done so, you have until this Sunday (20 March 2022) to complete Scotland’s latest census. One of the questions is:...

Trans equality charity welcome Court of Session decision on transgender rights

  PRESS RELEASE Court upholds Census guidance allowing trans men and women to self-identify their lived sex. Lord Sandison held in the Outer House of the Court of Session today that Scottish Ministers...

Using the Law to Challenge Discrimination: Migrant Access to Further Education & Unlawful Disclosure of Gender History by NHS

  Gwyn King, Senior Solicitor in our Scottish Just Law Centre, highlights two recent cases where we helped clients to use the law to successfully challenge discrimination:   Barriers to Migrant...