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.
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.
Are British civilians employed by the MoD in Cyprus protected by the Equality Act? (Holloway & Ors v Ministry of Defence)
A group of British civilians working on a military base in Cyprus brought claims of discrimination against the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Before considering their claim, the Employment Tribunal had to decide whether GB equality laws applied to this group of workers. The first Employment Tribunal found that the Equality Act did apply to them. However, the MoD successfully challenged this in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This meant that the case was remitted to the ET to be reconsidered.
When a woman discovered she was pregnant after being offered a job in the police force, the offer was withdrawn. We were concerned this amounted to discrimination and provided the woman with legal assistance to support her case.
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.
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 believed the company she worked for had unlawfully discriminated against her when she was pregnant. However, she did not find out that she could make a legal claim until after the three-month time limit. The Employment Tribunal did not agree to hear her case as she had not made a claim within three months, but the Employment Appeal Tribunal later ruled that the original decision should be retaken by a different Employment Tribunal.
Immigration rules: extending domestic violence protection to refugees (R (A) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
The wife of a refugee was granted temporary leave to remain in the UK. When domestic violence forced her to leave her husband, immigration rules meant she was no longer eligible for indefinite leave to remain. Had her partner been a British citizen or had settled immigration status, she would still be eligible for indefinite leave to remain under the Home Office’s domestic violence concession. However, the concession did not apply to partners of refugees. The woman unsuccessfully challenged the rules in the Court of Session (Outer House), and brought an appeal to the Court of Session (Inner House).
Preventing estate agents using ‘No DSS’ policies to discriminate against renters (J v X Estate Agents)
A female disabled renter successfully challenged an estate agent’s ‘No DSS’ policy on grounds it indirectly discriminated against her because of her sex and disability. Women and disabled people are more likely to be in receipt of housing benefit than men and non-disabled people, and as a result of the policy, blocked from renting many properties.