Anti-discrimination legislation derives from a number of sources: UK legislation, human rights law and EU provisions. The main UK legislation is set out in the table below.
There are more broadly based anti-discrimination provisions in Article 14 ECHR, Article 2 UNCRC and Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Equality Act 2006 provided for the establishment of a single Equality Commission for Equality and Human Rights with responsibilities for equality and diversity, promoting human rights and the enforcement of specific equality enactments.
None of the UK equality enactments addresses the discrimination of children on the grounds that they are children. The Equality Act 2006 confers on the Commission for Equality and Human Rights a very broad remit to promote good relations between 'groups'. A 'group' may be defined by age, amongst other criteria, so that children could be a ‘group' for this purpose. This provision falls short of a duty of non-discrimination or even a duty to promote equality of treatment but could conceivably be used to promote better access by children to facilities and services.
The Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. The Act, which brings together all existing discrimination legislation and extends protection from unfair treatment, explicitly excludes children and young people from legal protection from unfair discrimination on the grounds of age. This continued exclusion of children and young people from the ban on unfair age discrimination in goods and services, and the exclusion of children’s homes and schools from the age element of the public sector equality duty has led to a campaign run by the Young Equals group working with the Childrens' Rights Alliance England (CRAE) - take a look at their report Making the Case and their lobbying activites here.
For more information on the Equality Act 2010 take a look at the EHRC website here.