What you can do
This will very much depend on the service provider in question. The law relating to goods and services discrimination is civil law. It is therefore not something the police can take forward. You could:
- Make a formal complaint directly to the service provider/ manager to highlight the discrimination.
- If there is a complaints procedure to follow (for example, for the NHS or for schools) follow this through.
- If there is a relevant regulatory body or Head Office for the service provider, contact them.
- The service provider may need to be taken to county court to gain redress (which will generally be compensation-based).
Going to Court
If you have been discriminated against and if you are unable to resolve the situation with the service provider in a satisfactory way, then you could take a claim to the county court. A court will expect you to have taken all reasonable steps to resolve your complaint before starting court action.
You could use a statutory questionnaire before taking court action. Statutory questionnaires allow you to put your case to the service provider and ask questions.. Any reply you receive will help you to decide whether the treatment you received was discriminatory. Sometimes, receiving a questionnaire can prompt the service provider to reconsider your complaint. The service provider's answers to the questionnaire can also be used as evidence in court. If the service provider does not answer the questionnaire, a court can treat this as evidence that the service provider did indeed discriminate against you.
For incidents which took place on on after 1st October 2010 individuals should use the following questionnaire: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/equality-act-publications/complaints-Equality-Act
Making a claim through the court
You should start proceedings in the county court for the district in which the service provider lives or works, or in that in which the discrimination took place. You will need to make a claim within 6 months of the discrimination.
If you wish to bring a claim, you must send or take the following to the court:
- one copy of a claim form (called form N1) for the court, for you and for each defendant.
- one copy of the particulars of claim for the court, for you and for each defendant (unless you have included the details of your claim on the claim form);
- the court fee; and
- a stamped self-addressed envelope, if the proceedings are being issued through the post.
How much does it cost?
It does cost money to go to court. The fee you have to pay to the court depends on the amount you are claiming, including interest. There are some exemptions for paying court fees.
What will happen?
You will be given a hearing date and before this you could settle out of court with the defendant. If not then you will go to trial and a judge will assess your case and decide an outcome. There is opportunity for an appeal should this decision not go your way.
For further information please contact Stonewall Cymru's Information Service on 08000 502020 or email email@example.com