Court of Appeal: Underhill VP, Simler and Warby LJJ,  EWCA Civ 348, 15 March 2021
The Court considered an appeal from a High Court decision which had rejected indirect race discrimination and PSED challenges to the application of the Defendant’s ex gratia scheme to support and assist third-country national refugees outside the UK who have fled the conflict in Syria. The case is important, if somewhat disheartening to equality lawyers, for its conclusions on the (limited) extra-territorial effect of the Equality Act 2010. It is worth emphasising that the Court of Appeal’s approval of the High Court’s conclusions on justification were subject to the proviso that the limited evidence on which the High Court was prepared to find in the Defendant’s favour was the result of the way in which the claim had developed post-issue; as Underhill LJ, concurring with Simler LJ leading judgment, stated at §110: “the story is indeed a good illustration of the perils of “rolling judicial review”. Continue reading
On 28 October 2020 the Resolution Foundation published a report entitled Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, which disclosed that young workers and workers of colour were disproportionately likely to have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Continue reading
On Tuesday 27 October the Guardian reported ONS figures for the year to end March 2020 which demonstrated that Black people in England and Wales show were nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. Continue reading
Supreme Court,  UKSC 40, 16 October 2020
Lords Reed, Kerr, Kitchen and Sales and Lady Arden
The case involved a challenge to Hackney’s allocation of about 1% of its social housing via a charitable housing association (Agudas Israel Housing Association/ AIHA) which prioritized applicants from the Orthodox Jewish Community. The reasons for the priority were, inter alia, that Orthodox Jewish families were disadvantaged in access to general social housing by reason of their tendency to have large families; that they suffered from significant economic disadvantage and discrimination in access to private sector accommodation; and that they needed to live in proximity to each other for religious reasons and because of antisemitism. The decision is an important one in rejecting the argument that a narrow approach should be taken to the parameters of lawful positive action.
Court of Appeal: Sir Terence Etherton MR, Dame Victoria Sharp P and Singh LJ  EWCA Civ 1058, 11 August 2020
The Court of Appeal allowed the Claimant’s appeal against the decision of the Divisional Court that the Defendant had not breached the PSED in its trial of live automated facial recognition technology (“AFR Locate”), by which the Defendant compared images of members of the public captured by surveillance cameras to images of persons on a watchlist. It was argued on appeal that AFR Locate breached Article 8 ECHR, data protection legislation and the PSED. This note is concerned only with the PSED challenge. The decision is an important one in that it underlines the proactive nature of the PSED and the evidence-gathering obligation it places on public authorities.
Court of Appeal: Sir Geoffrey Vos C, Singh and Simler LJJ,  EWCA Civ 1046, 5 August 2020
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
High levels of concern are being expressed on Twitter about the equality implications of arrangements for the BTPC examinations, which are to be taken in August online either remotely or in a test centre. Continue reading
The Home Affairs Committee is currently taking evidence on policing and race, including the policing of the covid-19 lockdown, as part of its inquiry into The Macpherson Report: twenty-one years on. Continue reading
The July 2020 print issue of Counsel magazine carries an article by Lesley Thomas QC (until recently joint head of Garden Court chambers, now also a professor of law at Gresham College) subtitled “Let’s talk about race. Forget the guilt and take action. Bias is implicit and often unconscious. It takes great courage to change the system. It benefits us all.” Continue reading
In news that is unlikely to come as a surprise to many of us, The Times reported on 20 April 2020 that “Men dominate jobs offering highest pay”. Continue reading