Royal Mail Group Ltd v Efobi

[2021] UKSC 33, [2021] 1 WLR 3863

In this important case the Supreme Court ruled on the approach to s136 of the Equality Act 2010 which sets out the burden of proof in discrimination and harassment claims. The sole judgment was delivered by Lord Leggatt with whom Lords Hodge, Briggs and Hamble and Lady Arden agreed.

The main question for the Court was whether the change in wording of the burden of proof provision from the pre-Equality Act 2010 (but post EU-inspired amendments to the legislative provisions transferring the burden of proof) reference to “the complainant [having proved] facts from which the tribunal could …conclude in the absence of an adequate explanation that the respondent” had discriminated to there being “facts from which the court could decide, in the absence of any other explanation, that a person” had discriminated (s136) had made any substantive difference to the test. The Court ruled that it did not. In addition, the Court was asked to consider whether the tribunal had been required to draw adverse inferences from the respondent’s failure to provide witness evidence from any of those responsible for the rejections of the claimant’s various applications. Again the Court ruled that it had not been so required. Continue reading