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Cover Human Rights Law Directions

19. Article 12: right to marry  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter deals with Article 12, the right to marry and found a family. The right can be qualified by reference to ‘national laws’. This qualification permits states to regulate and restrict marriage so long as the ‘essence’ of the right is not compromised. The human right to marriage gives public recognition and legal protection to the primary unit through which children are conceived and brought up. The European Court of Human Rights tends to allow a wide margin of appreciation in respect of issues over which a clear European consensus has yet to emerge. A number of issues are also discussed in Chapter 15, on Article 8.


Cover Employment Law

17. Sex-related characteristics (gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation)  

This chapter discusses the law on discrimination due to the protected characteristics of gender reassignment, marital status and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity. The Sex Discrimination Act as originally drafted only prohibited discrimination on grounds of sex and marital status. However, civil partners are now treated in the same way as married people. Transgender people, who live as someone of the opposite gender, are protected from discrimination. They can also change their birth certificates so that their new gender is reflected there. Pregnant women have a right not to be discriminated against, and this is a free-standing right. People are entitled not to be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The prohibition against sex discrimination covers heterosexuals as well as homosexual people.


Cover Sentencing and Punishment

9. Experiencing imprisonment  

This chapter considers the experience of imprisonment for specific groups, namely women (including mothers), ethnic minorities, disabled prisoners, religious minorities, and gay, lesbian, and transgender prisoners. There is also more focus on the experience of foreign national prisoners and the growing number of olderprisoners. Policies that aim to reduce the risk of unfair treatment to these groups and their impact are reviewed, as is the framework of legislation designed to promote equality and human rights. The approach taken to race equality has now been extended to other groups. The framework of equality law is considered, including the Equality Act 2010 and its equality duty. The importance of gender-specific penal policies is also discussed.