Q&As

Would a firm of solicitors acting for a respondent party owe a duty to the claimant party as a service provider under the Equality Act 2010?

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Produced in partnership with Tim Herbert of Ignition Law
Published on LexisPSL on 08/10/2019

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Tim Herbert of Ignition Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Would a firm of solicitors acting for a respondent party owe a duty to the claimant party as a service provider under the Equality Act 2010?

Under section 29(1) of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), a service provider is ‘a person…concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not)’.

There can be little doubt that, under this definition, a firm of solicitors would be a service provider. This is certainly the opinion of the Law Society (see Law Society Practice Note: Equality Act 2010). The Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance: Services, Public functions and Associations: Statutory Code of Practice (the Code) also provides, at 11.3, that solicitors are service providers covered by EqA 2010.

The duty of a service provider under EqA 2010, s 29(1) is not to ‘discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service’. A ‘person requiring the service’ is defined in EqA 2010, s 31 as a person requiring a service in

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