Court of Appeal, Sir Keith Lindblom, Holroyde and Coulson LJJ,  EWCA Civ 1391, 31 October 2022
The claimant/ appellant successfully appealed the refusal of her application to quash a decision dismissing her appeal against a refusal of her application for planning permission for a permanent site for Gypsies and Travellers. The definition of “Gypsies and Travellers”, set out in the policy document “Planning Policy for Traveller Sites” (“PPTS 2015”) had been amended in 2015 to remove the express inclusion within the category of “Gypsies and Travellers” of those who permanently ceased to travel as a result of, inter alia, disability or old age. The effect of the exclusion was that the claimant was not regarded for planning purposes as a Traveller. Continue reading →
Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, Kerr J,  EWHC 2298 (Admin), 7 September 2022
The High Court ruled that the exclusion from entitlement to a bereavement support payment (‘BSP’) of the widower of a woman who had, by reason of disability, paid no national insurance contributions (because she was unable to work) breached Article 14 ECHR read with A1P1. In doing so the judge reached the same conclusion as Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal had in O’Donnell v. Department for Communities  NICA 36. Continue reading →
Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, Lang J,  EWHC 2007 (Admin), 28 July 2022
This case concerned a challenge to the arrangements for providing access to publicly funded legal services for detainees at the women’s immigration removal centre (IRC) of Derwentside, County Durham. The IRC is located some distance from any airport of major city and, as a result of difficulties in securing solicitors to cover the publicly funded Detained Duty Advice Scheme (DDAS), interim arrangements had been put in place under which detainees at Derwentside were not entitled to in-person visits under the DDAS between December 2021 and July 2022. By contrast, detainees held in male IRCs were entitled to face-to-face DDAS visits during this period. Continue reading →
Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, Cotter J,  EWHC 1588 (Admin), 23 June 2022
This was a challenge brought under the EqA and the HRA to increases in the charges for use of Hampstead’s Ladies’ Pond. The claim was that the increased charges breached the defendant’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled persons under ss20, 21 & 29 EqA and indirect discrimination against disabled people contrary to s19 EqA and Article 14 ECHR read with Article 8 and/or Article 1 Protocol 1. Continue reading →
European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section) (App. No. 19839/21)  ECHR 19839/21, 16 June 2022
This was an appeal to the ECtHR from the decision of the Supreme Court in R (Z & Anor) v Hackney LBC & Anor  UKSC 40 (see previous post). The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the application to the Court as inadmissible. The Applicant complained that the preferential treatment of members of the Orthodox Jewish Community (“OJC” below) breached her Article 8 and 14 ECHR rights. The Court accepted that Article 8 was engaged for the purposes of Article 14 but found that the preferential treatment in issue was proportionate and lawful. (References to LBH and AIHA below are to the London Borough of Hackney and the Orthodox Jewish housing association which managed the accommodation whose tenancy criteria Z challenged.) According to the Court: Continue reading →
Court of Appeal: Underhill VP, Asplin and Simler LJJ,  EWCA Civ 336, 16 March 2022
The Court of Appeal allowed the respondent’s appeal from the decision of Kerr J (see previous post). Continue reading →
Court of Appeal: Peter Jackson, Singh and Andrews LJJ,  EWCA Civ 1, 11 January 2022
This decision concerned a challenge to the suspension of Disability Living Allowance (“DLA”) after an individual in receipt of the benefit has been hospitalised for 28 days. The challenge was brought under Article 14 read with A1P1 to the Convention by MOC, a 60 year old man with complex medical conditions and disabilities whose sister, MG, had been appointed to act as his deputy by the Court of Protection. Prior to his hospitalisation MOC, who had cognitive, mental capacity and mental health issues, Down’s Syndrome, deafness, blindness, dermatological issues, mobility issues, Hirschsprung Disease, double incontinence, dietary issues and severe learning disabilities, had lived with MG prior to his period of hospitalisation and was provided around-the-clock care by MG and her family. When MOC’s DLA was removed he appealed to the First-tier and Upper Tribunal and thereafter to the Court of Appeal. The claimant’s case was that his need for MG to look after his interests and advocate on his behalf did not cease during his period of hospitalisation. His appeal failed. Singh LJ, with whom Peter Jackson and Andrews LJJ agreed, ruled that the claimant had failed to establish the collective disadvantage required for an indirect discrimination claim, and could not rely on (lack of) capacity as a “status” due to its shifting nature, and that any discrimination was in any event justifiable. Continue reading →
Administrative Court; Foster J,  EWHC 15 (Admin), 6 January 2022
The claimant challenged the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 (as amended) on the basis that they breached Article 14 ECHR read with A2P1 by restricting eligibility for student finance to individuals to would-be higher education students who were “settled in the United Kingdom” for immigration purposes on the first day of the first academic year of their course. The claimant, whose academic course started on 1 September 2020, had made an application for settled status. He had, in respect of previous applications, used the Home Office Super Priority visa application service which granted visas within 24 hours on payment of a fee, the normal turnaround offered by the Home Office for disposal of an Indefinite Leave To Remain (“ILR”) Visa application being six months. The Super Priority scheme, and a related Priority scheme, were withdrawn by the Home Office with only a few days’ notice on 31 March 2020, unknown to the Claimant. He became eligible to apply for ILR on 14 April and did so on 17 May 2020, a day before his previous visa was due to expire. He applied for student finance on 24 August 2020. He was granted ILR on 23 November 2020 but was advised by letter of 18 December 2020 that he was ineligible for student finance. After having unsuccessfully appealed this decision he sought judicial review. Foster J ruled that the discrimination in issue fell within A2P1, that the claimant was entitled to rely on the broad approach to “status” approved by the Supreme Court in R (SC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 26,  3 WLR 428 (see previous post), and that the discrimination was unjustified and unlawful.
Continue reading →
Queen’s Bench Division (Planning Court): Kerr J,  EWHC 3294 (Admin), 7 December 2021
This was an unsuccessful challenge under Articles 8 and 14 and s149 EqA (the PSED) to experimental traffic orders (ETOs) made by the respondent which took effect from 9 November 2020. The applicants complained that they are severely prejudiced by increased car journey times to and from their school. The challenge was brought under paragraph 35, Part VI, Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 rather than by way of judicial review, and so did not require permission, but Kerr J pointed out at §4 that the same principles applied. He expressed sympathy for the applicants who he accepted had been disadvantaged by the ETOs but upheld them as proportionate measures in pursuit of legitimate aims of reducing congestion, improving air quality, road safety and accessibility, encouraging active travel to school and social distancing (applying R (SC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 26,  3 WLR 428 [and see earlier blog]. He rejected the PSED claim on the basis that, taken in the round, the respondent had taken sufficient steps to comply with the duty of due regard.
Continue reading →
Court of Appeal: Underhill VP, Baker and Davies LJJ,  EWCA Civ 1703, 24 November 2021
This was an appeal from the refusal of a challenge to the lawfulness of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”) introduced by the government during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The claimants argued that the scheme breaches Article 14 ECHR read with A1P1 by discriminating against self-employed women who took a period of leave relating to maternity or pregnancy in any of the three relevant tax years on which SEISS payments were calculated, this because the level of support granted to them under the scheme was not representative of their usual profits. Whipple J had dismissed the claim having considered the extraordinary pressures under which the scheme was introduced (including the imperative to distribute funds speedily) and the fact that the scheme adopted operated on the basis of data already held by the state. She was not persuaded that the claimants had demonstrated indirect discrimination or Thlimmenos discrimination but proceeded to consider justification, upon which she found against the claimants having adopted the “manifestly without reasonable foundation” approach (the correctness of which had been common ground between the parties).
The claimants appealed on the basis that Whipple J had erred in her approach to indirect discrimination, to Thlimmenos-type discrimination, and to justification. The Court of Appeal (Underhill and Baker LJJ, with whom Davies LJ agreed) agreed that the Judge had misdirected herself as to indirect discrimination by failing properly to take into account the disparate impact of the scheme on women who had taken maternity leave. It found it unnecessary to consider the challenge to the Judge’s application of Thlimmenos and (having considered the decision of the Supreme Court in R (SC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 26,  3 WLR 428 (see previous post) dismissed the appeal on the basis that Whipple J had been entitled to find that any discrimination was justified (further, that it was in fact so justified). The case provides further illustration (see also R (Salvato) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWCA Civ 1482 and related post) that the movement away from the “manifestly without reasonable foundation” test in cases where suspect grounds are in play is by no means a panacea for claimants.
Continue reading →