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Law as an Instrument of Social Change: The Race Relations Act (RRA) of 1976

Naidoo, R. (2002). Law as an Instrument of Social Change: The Race Relations Act (RRA) of 1976. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The thesis examines to what extent law can be an instrument of social change with reference to the RRA 1976. It is argued that change to society through legal reform is a very slow process because of the limitations placed upon law. The study was conducted partly by theoretical analysis and partly by two empirical studies. Firstly, an analysis of the question of rights and judicial interpretations are addressed. Then the sociological and legal theories of race and ethnicity are discussed. An historical consideration of legislative intervention in race is explored to ascertain the politico-legal aspect of race legislation in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The research also identifies the limitations of the RRA 1976 in various areas with particular emphasis in relation to employment.

The aim of the first empirical study was to explore the current limitations of the law to prevent race discrimination and to investigate discriminatory advertisements and pressure cases under Sections 29, 30/31 RRA 1976. The extent of compliance with equal opportunity policy was ascertained by the impact on employers, as a result of either legal proceedings against them or by being reported to the CRE.

The second empirical study surveyed Industrial Tribunal cases throughout England, Wales and Scotland to ascertain inconsistencies in their performance. This survey is supplemented by the observation of race cases at Tribunals. The reforms to race legislation and the future of the CRE are analysed in effecting changes to society. Finally the RRA is compared to the Health and Safety Act and the anti-discrimination race laws in Europe The thesis established that law can be an instrument of social change but at a very slow pace. The empirical study on Industrial Tribunals reached rather positive conclusions on effecting changes in society. The CRE must rely heavily on the political and judicial will to bring about the transformation of society. If law can embrace sociology and bring about change, then law could become an effective machinery. If the foundations for changes are firmly in place, then I believe that the RRA 1976 can play a significant role as an instrument of social change.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
K Law
Departments: The City Law School
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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