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When should you bring a discrimination claim in the County Court?

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Issuing a claim in the County Court can be a daunting process, especially if you are issuing it yourself. However, it is also essential that, if you wish to bring a civil claim of discrimination, you must ensure that your claim is brought correctly, and is considered ‘in time’.

How do I know if my claim is ‘in time’?

There are strict time limits for bringing a claim for civil discrimination in the County Court. Pursuant to Section 118 of the Equality Act 2010, subject to very limited exceptions a claim must be brought within “the period of 6 months starting with the date of the act to which the proceedings relate”, i.e., six months less one day from the alleged act of discrimination took place. This known as your ‘limitation period’, and the last business day in the six month period is known as your ‘limitation date’.

I have missed my limitation date, can I still bring a claim?

If you fail to issue your claim to the County Court outside of your limitation period, and after your limitation date, the Equality Act 2010 states that you will be prevented from being allowed to pursue your claim in the County Court. You will be considered ‘statute barred’ from pursuing your claim further.

This is the general rule. However, there are circumstances in which you may wish to apply for permission to bring your claim in the County Court, despite it being considered ‘out of time’ on the face of it. If such is requested, a Judge would consider the proportionality of allowing you to bring your claim after the expiry your limitation period. It is important to be aware that these are considered on a case-by-case basis and such applications are only allowed in extremely rare circumstances.

Therefore, to best protect your position, and to avoid being prevented from bringing your claim of discrimination, you must ensure that you issue your claim in the County Court within your limitation period.

If you are concerned about your limitation period, or you are unsure with regard to when your limitation date would be, we may be able to assist you. Additionally, if you require assistance on issuing your claim protectively, or serving your claim in the County Court, we may be able to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact our discrimination team on 0161 696 6170.

By Thomas Yates, employment and discrimination advisor