Race Relations Act 1965

Whilst weak and limited in scope, the Race Relations Act 1965  was the first legislation to acknowledge the existence of racial discrimination.

The act prohibited discrimination in specific places of ‘public resort’ (including hotels, cafes, pubs, restaurants, entertainment venues and public transport) ‘on the ground of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins’.

The act established the Race Relations Board, which was to oversee the setting up of local committees. The local committees were to consider complaints, seek conciliation in the first instance, and report unresolved cases to the Attorney General (England and Wales) or Lord Advocate (Scotland) for potential legal enforcement in the civil courts.

The act also made it an offence to incite racial hatred in public.

The act did not apply to employment or housing, and it did not extend to Northern Ireland.