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Burden of Proof Directive

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SEX DISCRIMINATION - BURDEN OF PROOF DIRECTIVE ==============================================

The Sex Discrimination Burden of Proof Directive 1997 was due to come into force at the beginning of this week.

Richard Lister of Lewis Silkin tells me he has made enquiries of the Cabinet Office, who say that Regulations were laid before parliament last Friday, and are due to come into force in 12 weeks time.

The Regulations will make two changes to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975:

First, inserting a section 63A which provides that where an applicant proves facts giving rise to a prima facie case of discrimination, the tribunal SHALL uphold the complaint of discrimination unless the Respondent proves that he did not commit the act. In other words, the burden of proof formally shifts from Applicant to Respondent. This is no more than already happens in practice pursuant to King v GB China Centre.

Secondly, the definition of indirect discrimination will be amended from making in unlawful to impose an unjusifiable "requirement or condition" to a "provision, criterion or practice". This will not make a significant difference.