R (Rowley) v Minister for the Cabinet Office

[2021] EWHC 2108

In this case the High Court (Fordham J) ruled that the respondent had discriminated against the claimant, who was profoundly deaf, by failing to provide of British sign language (“BSL”) interpreters for Government live briefings to the public about the Covid-19 pandemic on 21 September 2020 and 12 October 2020. The claimant challenged the failures on those occasions and also sought to challenge the respondent’s continuing refusal to use ‘on-platform’ as distinct from ‘in-screen’ BSL interpreters for briefings. The claimant sought to establish failures of the PSED imposed by s149 of the Equality Act 2010 in respect of the  defendant’s ongoing approach to briefings, as well as failures of the duty to make reasonable adjustments imposed by ss20 and 29(7)(a) of the Act. The PSED claim failed as did the reasonable adjustment challenge to ongoing (‘in-screen’ BSL) briefings. The decision includes a comprehensive discussion of the leading authorities on disability discrimination in the context of services/public authorities. Continue reading

Martin v City and County of Swansea

UKEAT/0253/20/AT

The decision of the EAT in this case provides a useful reminder of the proper approach to the PCP in reasonable adjustment claims. EAT (judge James Tayler, sitting alone) ruled that an employment tribunal had erred in law in rejecting the claimant’s attempt to rely on, as a PCP, a Management of Absence Policy which included discretion which would have permitted, amongst other steps, the claimant’s redeployment to an alternative role. The Tribunal had ruled that the application of the policy to the claimant did not constitute the application of a PCP that placed her at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled persons. Continue reading

R (Blundell & Ors) v SSWP; R (Day) v SSWP

[2021] EWHC 608 (Admin), Kerr J

The Claimants unsuccessfully challenged the Defendant’s policy of making deductions at a fixed rate from universal credit (UC) to pay off criminal fines. So far as relevant here, the claim alleged breach of the PSED (s149 Equality Act 2010) and unlawful indirect disability discrimination. The latter claim failed on the evidence, Kerr J pointing out that it would more suitably have been brought in the county court. The Judge did accept that the Defendant had breached the PSED but ruled against the claimants on the basis that compliance with the PSED would very likely have made no difference and that, therefore, s31A of the Senior Courts Act 1981 defeated the claim. Continue reading

R (DMA, AHK, BK and ELN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (AA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department

[2020] EWHC 3416 (Admin), Knowles CBE J

This was a claim brought by asylum seekers who, their claims having been rejected by the defendant, were not permitted to work or to access public funds while they awaited the defendant’s consideration of their further representations. The defendant had accepted that she was under a duty to provide accommodation or arrange for the provision of accommodation to the claimants under s4(2) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (“the 1999 Act”). Continue reading

Independent Workers Union of Great Britain v Mayor of London & Transport for London (Interested Party)

[2020] EWCA Civ 1046, Sir Geoffrey Vos C, Singh and Simler LJJ

The claimant unsuccessfully appealed against the rejection by Lewis J of its challenge to the decision to remove the exemption in the congestion charging regime which had previously applied to private hire vehicles (PHVs). The exemption remained applicable to black cabs and to the 1% of PHVs which were wheelchair accessible. The claimant argued that the removal of the exemption amounted to indirect discrimination against BAME and women PHV drivers, 94% of PHV drivers being from BAME backgrounds whereas 88% of black cab drivers were white. Continue reading