In this section, you will find updates from the Commission's legal team on developing areas of law. This includes all areas of discrimination and human rights law.
Howe v JD Wetherspoon
The High Court found that the J D Wetherspoons pub chain discriminated against travellers. A group who had been attending the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain annual conference, some of whom are Irish Travellers, were refused entry into a public house.
A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
“In modern Britain, no one should face being denied service in a shop or pub because of their race. Cases of this nature are unfortunately still too prevalent and that’s why we’ve been trying to work with the industry to encourage a better understanding of the law and avoid costly court cases. The response to date has been disappointing but we hope this judgment will encourage more businesses to work together with us to prevent further cases in the future.”
In this case, the Claimant supplemented her claim of direct race discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 by arguing that her caste was a factor in the way she was perceived by the Respondents.
Stuart Bracking and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening)  EWCA Civ 1345
In this case, in which the Commission intervened, the Court of Appeal overturned the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal from hotel owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who had refused to honour a gay couple's booking of a double bedroom.
The Commission has responded to the GEO's consultation on the details of equal pay audits, and on the contents of regulations which the Government intends to introduce in 2014.
More than six years after 251 women raised their claims for equal pay against Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Supreme Court has upheld their right to compare their terms and conditions with men who are also employed by the Council but work in or from different workplaces. The judgment has been heralded by the appellants'; trade union, UNISON, as ‘historic’ and they say it will lead to over 2,000 women sharing an estimated £12 million in compensation. Laura Hutchison, Senior Enforcement Officer, EHRC Scotland explores the decision.
Katy Reade, senior lawyer at EHRC, explores the Court of Appeal's decision in R (Catt). The case concerns the powers of the police to collect and retain personal information about members of the public who are attending lawful public demonstrations.
Update on the EAT's findings - and proposed appeal to the Court of Appeal - in a case concerning post employment victimisation.
Using our unique legal powers, we have intervened in a series of human rights cases both domestically and in Europe. These cases have resulted in individuals getting the protection they deserve, from soldiers serving overseas to gay people fleeing from persecution.
- Download a summary of the Commission's domestic legal interventions (Word)
- Download a summary of the Commission's interventions in the European Court of Human Rights (Word)
HJ and HT v Secretary of State for Home Department
The Supreme Court accepted the test set out by the EHRC in respect of gay asylum seekers. It held that gay asylum seekers could not be returned to their country of origin on basis that they could avoid persecution by being discreet.
R (Smith) v Secretary of State for Defence
The Court accepted the EHRC's submissions on the need for an Article 2 compliant investigation but did not accept its submissions on the jurisdictional application of the HRA.
A Local Authority v A, B, C, D and E
The EHRC was requested to intervene by the Court. The Court accepted the ECHR's submissions on positive obligations of the state in respect of disabled children being locked in their bedrooms by their parents for their own safety, but that these were limited to support and advice.
R (G) v The Governors of X School, Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families, EHRC intervening
The Commission submitted that, given the grave consequences of the outcome of the disciplinary hearing for G, he was entitled to a fair trial, including the right to be represented by a lawyer. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Commission. Lord Justice Laws said it 'was well established here and in Strasbourg that the level of procedural protection ... depends on what is at stake.' Given the effect that having an advocate might have on the disciplinary proceedings and the high stakes involved G should be afforded the opportunity to arrange legal representation should he wish. This case is due to heard in the Supreme Court in April 2011.
NS v Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Court of Appeal has referred a number of questions regarding the interpretation of EU law, including the scope of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UK Protocol, to the Court of Justice of the EU and has stayed the appeal pending the outcome of the reference. The Commission's intervention has already had measurable effect. Just prior to the hearing the Secretary of State conceded that 'the fundamental rights set out in the [EU] Charter [of Fundamental Rights] can be relied on as against the United Kingdom and ...that [the High Court] erred in holding otherwise'. At the Commission's request, the Court noted the concession in its reasons for making the reference and also confirmed that the purpose of the Protocol was not to give the UK an opt out from the Charter. The questions referred to the Court of Justice include questions on the scope of the Charter and particularly the effect of the Protocol and the Commission has been invited to make submissions.
R (Ghai) v Newcastle upon Tyne City Council
The EHRC submitted that not permitting Mr Ghai to have an open air funeral pyre for his own funeral would breach his rights under Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal ruled Mr Ghai can be cremated in an open air crematorium, in line with his religious beliefs under the Cremation Act. It did not need to consider Human rights arguments.
Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds v Charity Commission)
P, Q, R v Local Authorities A and B - First Tier Tribunal (Social Security)
JM v UK
Kay v UK
Al Saadoon v UK
Last Updated: 23 Jun 2015