In Great Britain a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will be in operation from 2007. The CEHR will replace the existing commissions for sex, race and disability discrimination and have responsibility for age, religion and belief, sexual orientation and human rights. This paper explores the role the existing commissions played in shaping the structure, responsibilities and powers of the CEHR. The paper argues that the creation of the new commission revealed tensions between the role such bodies play as regulatory agencies and their importance in providing a voice for groups and individuals that experience discrimination. The author argues that, while initial proposals emphasised the role of the CEHR as a regulatory agency, in the course of the consultative and legislative process, new and imaginative mechanisms were introduced to ensure the experiences of those that face discrimination informs the CEHR's work. However, the author also argues that an opportunity was missed to strengthen both the regulatory and representative role of the CEHR through greater structural independence for the CEHR from government and in the introduction of a single equality act that would ensure that all strands went into the new Commission on an equal legislative footing.
Choudhury, T. (2006). The Commission for Equality and Human Rights 'Designing the Big Tent'. Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, 13(3), 311-322