A severely disabled man had his care package cut by the local council. It meant that he would lose a team of carers who had been supporting him to live independently for 20 years. We intervened to support his legal challenge that the decision broke equality and human rights laws and breached the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Protecting the right of disabled people to stay in their own home (1) (EHRC v 13 Clinical Commissioning Groups)
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning and commissioning healthcare in their local areas. A number of CCGs had policies which limited spending on continuing healthcare. It meant that disabled people with ongoing health needs risked being moved from their homes into residential care against their wishes. We believe this breaches human rights laws and began legal proceedings against the 13 CCGs with the most overly restrictive policies.
Immigration status and the right to rent a property (R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
As part of the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ towards those without leave to remain in the UK, the Immigration Act 2014 prevents landlords from renting property to people who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK. A body representing the interests of immigrants challenged this, arguing that the law breached both equality and human rights legislation because it causes landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the grounds of their nationality and/or their race. This may happen, for example, because landlords think they do not look or sound British, even if they are not disqualified from renting.
NHS regulations require most non-EU citizens to pay up to 150 percent of the cost of healthcare treatment. A man who was being treated for cancer challenged this in the courts, arguing that the regulations did not comply with equality laws.
Hillingdon Council’s housing rules said that a person must have lived in the area for at least ten years before they could apply for a house. The council refused two people, a refugee who had been given permission to stay in the UK and an Irish Traveller, on these grounds. We saw this as discriminatory and we intervened in their cases in the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal.
Protecting unaccompanied young asylum seekers whose age is disputed (R (S) v London Borough of Croydon & Anor)
An unaccompanied young person arrived in the UK seeking asylum. He claimed he was under 18. His local council placed him in adult accommodation and refused to provide child-appropriate services until an age assessment had taken place. He challenged their decision, arguing that it breached his human rights.
Protecting the right of disabled people to stay in their own home (2) (EHRC v a Clinical Commissioning Group)
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning and commissioning healthcare in their local areas. This CCG had a policy which limited spending on continuing healthcare. It meant that disabled people with ongoing health needs risked being moved from their homes into residential care against their wishes. We believe this breached human rights laws and began legal proceedings against the CCG.
We funded a case challenging the Secretary of State for Justice’s decision to make PAVA spray available in prisons during the coronavirus pandemic, before agreed safeguards were in place. As a result of the action, the use of PAVA will be more tightly controlled and monitored. This should help prevent disproportionate use against prisoners sharing particular protected characteristics and improve scrutiny and accountability.
Challenging mass surveillance and protecting people’s right to privacy (Big Brother Watch and Others v UK )
Since 2013, Big Brother Watch and other human rights organisations have been challenging the compatibility of the UK’s bulk intelligence gathering and international intelligence sharing regimes with the right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). We intervened with the European Network for National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), to flag the importance of safeguards in the context of mass surveillance by governments.
Challenging the ‘two-child limit’ rule (R (on the application of SC and CB and their children) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 provides that child tax credit and its replacement universal credit will not be payable to any 3rd or subsequent children in a family born after 6th April 2017 (subject to some exceptions). This is known as the ‘two child rule’.
SC and CB each had a baby after 6th April 2017 and do not receive any tax credits for those children.