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.
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.
Bedroom tax: under what circumstances is a spare room justifiable? (R (Daly and others) (formerly known as MA and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Housing benefit regulations reduce the amount of benefit available to people who have a spare bedroom. Seven people who had lost some of their benefit challenged the Department for Work and Pensions in the Supreme Court.
A woman who came to the UK as a migrant domestic worker was abused and exploited by her employer. She successfully brought several claims against the employer, but her claim for race discrimination did not succeed. We supported her to challenge this in the Supreme Court.
Challenging the two-child limit on the basis of discrimination (R ( SC & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Tax credits are designed to help with the cost of bringing up a family; but families can only claim credits for the first two children. The claimant in this case is a mother of three children, she cannot take the contraceptive pill because it interferes with other medication she takes and she does not agree with abortion. We believe that the two-child limit discriminates against families like this claimant, so we intervened in her case.
Highlighting the lack of interim relief available to discrimination claimants (Steer v Stormsure Ltd)
A woman alleged that she was sexually harassed by her colleague and victimised by her employer when she complained about it. She resigned from her employment, claiming that she had been constructively dismissed as a result of her employer’s actions and applied for interim relief, which was rejected. We were involved in the subsequent appeals in order to highlight the lack of interim relief available to discrimination claimants and the problems associated with this.