JCHR Press Notice 03-04 No. 8

Session 2003-04                                     12 February 2004

Call for Evidence

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report on The Case for a Human Rights Commission in March 2003.  It also published a consultation document on 19 March 2003 on the structure, functions and powers of any human rights commission.

On 30 October 2003, the Government announced its intention to proceed with a Commission for Equality and Human Rights.  It also announced the setting up of a taskforce to advise it on the implementation of this decision.

On 8 December, the JCHR took evidence from the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs on the proposed new Commission (the transcript is available on the Committee's website).

The Committee expects to produce a further report on the structure, functions and powers of the proposed Commission before the White Paper, promised for May/June, is published.  It expects to focus on: the nature and extent of the new body's human rights remit and its relationship to the equality functions; the human rights-related powers of the proposed new body; and the arrangements to guarantee its accountability and independence.

Written submissions on any of these topics would be welcome.  They should be addressed to  Paul Evans, Commons Clerk of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.  Electronic submission is acceptable to meet the closing date, but a signed hard copy should also be sent-in any event, witnesses are asked wherever possible to accompany hard copy by an electronic version, preferably in Word  format. Evidence should arrive by Monday 15 March 2004; evidence submitted later may not be able to be taken into account in the Committee's deliberations.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee at any stage.  You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.  Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract Parliamentary privilege.