Protecting children seeking asylum from being detained based on appearance (BF (Eritrea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
A person seeking asylum arrived in the UK at the age of 16. Officials thought he looked over 18 and he was held in immigration detention. He was later found to have told the truth about his age. The Home Office’s own rules say that unaccompanied children should not be detained. The person seeking asylum unsuccessfully challenged this in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and again in the Upper Tribunal. He then appealed the UT’s decision in the Court of Appeal. We intervened in the Court of Appeal to challenge guidance from the Home Secretary which said that people seeking asylum who look over 18 can be treated as adults.
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.
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.
A disabled man was unable to board a bus because a passenger with a pushchair refused to vacate the wheelchair space. The man successfully brought a claim for discrimination against the bus company. The company appealed twice in the Supreme Court, which is where our involvement began.
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.
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.
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.
Self-employment: protecting the equality rights of self-employed people (Pimlico Plumbers and another v Smith )
We know that some companies have people working for them who are technically self-employed.
This meant that thousands of workers did not enjoy some of the employment rights and protections that employees do.
We supported a man who had worked on a self-employed basis for the same firm for six years.
When the firm refused to make adjustments to his work after a heart attack, he successfully took his disability discrimination case to the Employment Tribunal.
The firm appealed, arguing that the man was not protected by the Equality Act 2010.
Home repossession: what reasonable adjustments should mortgage providers make? (Green v Southern Pacific Mortgage Ltd )
A woman who became unable to work because she was depressed asked her mortgage provider to transfer her from a repayment mortgage to an interest-only plan. This would have reduced her monthly payments sufficiently that her housing benefit would cover it. The mortgage company refused. She challenged their decision, arguing that they had discriminated against her by refusing to make reasonable adjustments on the grounds of her depression.
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.