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Legal Challenges Made Against the Public Spending Cuts

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This section lists the main legal challenges that have been made against the public spending cuts made by public bodies. It focuses on demonstrating the main challenges made against the cuts using judicial review and the following pieces of legislation: The European Convention on Human Rights, The Human Rights Act 1998, Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the public sector equality duties) and (prior to the Equality Act 2010) using the equalities duties contained within Section 76A of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 and Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. For information and guidance regarding judicial review, please click here.

For each challenge we provide a link to the judgement in the case, the legislation on which the claim was based and a summary of the background, decision and reasoning.

The aim of this section is to provide a resource for organisations, individuals or groups considering making a legal challenge against the public spending cuts, and in particular to provide information about the basis of previous challenges and whether they have succeeded or failed.

Any one considering a legal challenge to the public spending cuts will also find it useful to read this page, which contains guides to using legislation to challenge the cuts. This resource is available here.


False Economy also has a useful blog containing articles and news on the latest legal challenges against the public spending cuts, which can be viewed here.

The cases below are divided by the type of challenge being made by the applicants. Several cases can be found in more than one section for ease of navigating through the resources. To go directly to cases of a particular area of interest, please select the links below:

  1. Legal challenges to cuts to educational services
  2. Legal challenges to cuts to the provision of legal services
  3. Legal challenges to cuts to social welfare programmes
  4. Legal challenges to cuts to other public services
  5. Legal challenges to cuts affecting women and single parents
  6. Legal challenges to cuts affecting older people
  7. Legal challenges to cuts affecting disabled people
  8. Legal challenges to cuts affecting children and young people
  9. Legal challenges to cuts affecting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people


1. Legal challenges against cuts to educational services


1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of T & others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 2953 (QB).

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; Childcare Act 2006, Section 1, 3(2), 3(3) and 6. Challenge to decision withdrawing subsidies from 20 independent nurseries in "relatively deprived" areas in Sheffield, which provided funding for the Free Early Learning ('FEL') intitiative and childcare provision. Decision held to be lawful as it was ruled the defendant had discharged their equality duties. Application for judicial review to challenge the decision to remove subsidies for independent nurseries offering childcare for three to four year olds in the face of reduced sums available for discretionary funding. This would result in an immediate cut of 25%, potentially forcing some nurseries to close. There were concerns about the equality implications of the cuts, such as access to childcare amongst deprived families, a reduction of access to childcare for BME communities, and the impact of reduncies on childcare staff, which would disproportionately affect women and BME staff. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, the claimants contended that the defendant failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty pursuant to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and that the support offered to mitigate the effects of the cuts were inadequate to discharge the duty.
Application dismissed. Held, that in this case the defendant had had due regard which was appropriate in all the circumstances, although it was noted that a formal Equality Impact Assessment does not preclude the taking of other steps to discharge the public sector equality duty . The defendant had demonstrated "a proper and conscientious focus on the statutory criteria" and the court could not therefore interfere with the decision simply on the grounds that it would have given greater weight to considerations of equality.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of Hurley) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2012] A.C.D. 50.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Convention on Human Rights 1950, Protocol 1. Article 2; The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision of allowing higher education institutes to increase tuition fees to an upper limit of £9,000. The decision was ruled not an infringement upon the right to education in the European Convention on Human Rights. Application for judicial review made to challenge the decision to allow higher education institutes to increase fees. The applicant claimed the decision imposed restrictions on the right to access higher education and breached the right to education under the European Convention of Human Rights and also breached the Convention as the funding arrangement indirectly discriminated against those from lower socio-economic groups. There were also claims that the decision was made in breach of the public sector equality duties in the Equality Act 2010. Application for Judicial Review Refused The application was refused even though there was evidence that the decision would discourage some students from applying to attend higher education institutes. However, the fact that someone did not want to accept a student loan did not justify that the right to higher education was being denied or unjustifiably restricted. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had failed to fully carry out his public sector equality duties before implementing the decision. It was however held not to be an proportionate remedy to quash the decision due to this.


3. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Green) v Gloucestershire CC ; R. (On the Application of Rowe & Hird) v Somerset CC [2011] EWHC 2687 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of decisions to withdraw funding from library services and reduce opening hours. Decision held to be unlawful due to the local authorities’ failure to comply with their public sector equality duty in failing to undertake a sufficiently thorough information-gathering process. Two local authorities had withdrawn funding from static library service and Gloucestershire had withdrawn its mobile library services (which Somerset reduced). The result of the cuts would mean that some of the libraries would be forced to close entirely unless volunteers ran them. The applicants claimed in making the decision the local authorities had breached their public sector equality duties and failed to properly consult in making the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted The decision was ruled as unlawful due to both local authorities failing to comply with their public sector equality duties. The carrying out of equality impact assessments was not enough to evidence that due regard had been given to their equality duties. It had to be borne in mind that the withdrawal of a local library might well indirectly discriminate against people with physical disabilities, women and the elderly, which it was not when the decision was made. Both local authorities were held to have failed to have assessed the needs that its library services had to meet.


4. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Williams) v Surrey CC [2012] EWHC 867 (QB)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to decision to staff libraries with volunteers. The decision was ruled unlawful as they failed to consider the nature and extent of the equality training needs of the volunteers and the way in such needs might be met. An application for judicial review was made against a decision of a local authority that library provision in certain areas should be delivered via a community-partnership model where libraries would be staffed by volunteers (a decision made as a result from the need to reduce spending). The decision was challenged on the basis that they failed to have due regard to its public sector equality duty in failing to have due regard to the obvious equality issue of the need for training the volunteers, particularly in the respect of equality issues. Application for Judicial Review Granted The local authority in making the decision had breached their equality duties by failing to consider that a change of this magnitude would mean that extensive training of volunteers was necessary, particularly for them to be trained on equality issues. The decision was therefore ruled to be unlawful.


5. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Essex CC) v Secretary of State for Education [2012] A.C.D. 93

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1) ; Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries. Was ruled the Secretary of State had failed to consider the impact of the decision on different racial and disabled groups, so had not discharged their equality duty. The decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries, which could be carried forward into the following financial year, was challenged on the basis that the Secretary of State had failed to fulfil his race and disability equality duties in that they had failed to consult properly in certain areas of their decision making and that the criteria used to determine committed funds was irrational. Application for Judicial Review Granted The Secretary of State had not, either personally or by his officials, fully discharged his duties under the Acts by evaluating the impact of the measures on the relevant disadvantaged groups, therefore his decision was quashed. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had no duty to consult about the criteria used to determine committed funds.


6. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Luton BC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Sandwell MBC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Kent CC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Newham LBC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Waltham Forest LBC) v Secretary of State for Education. [2011] A.C.D. 43.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision 

Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of decision to stop school building projects begun in 2005 aiming to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in England. The decision was ruled unlawful as the decision maker had failed to consult the local authorities affected and had failed to discharge their equality duties. A local authority applied for judicial review of a decision to stop school building projects. This programme ended due to a decision of the new Coalition Government that came into power in 2010. The claimants believed the decision was unlawful as it breached their substantive legitimate expectations, the local authority had not been consulted about the decision fully and that the decision maker had failed to discharge his equality duties required under the Equality Act 2010. Application for Judcial Review Granted in Part. The Secretary of State’s decision was ruled unlawful as he had failed to consult the local authorities affected and he had failed to discharge his statutory duties under equality legislation. Neither the papers prepared for Ministers in 2010 nor the decision itself contained any reference to disability, race or gender need or impact. It seemed that no regard was had to the relevant duties at all, let alone rigorous regard required by the Equality Act 2010 and held was necessary in R(on the application of Brown) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to have regard to the impacts of certain practices on different groups.


7. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Bailey) v Brent LBC [2011] EWHC 2572 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to local authority's decision to close half of its public libraries. The decision was ruled not to be an unlawful one as they had discharged their equality duties and the decision was held to be reasonable in the context which it was made. Appellants appealed against the decision to dismiss their application for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to close 6 out of 12 public libraries. The appellants claimed the decision was a breach of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 in failing to have due regard to the risk of indirect discrimination the decision would have against Asian residents in the local area and failing to have due regard to their equality duties until too later stage in the decision making process (as the libraries for closure had already been decided and named before an equality impact assessment had been conducted). Appeal dismissed. The local authority was held not to have acted unlawfully as the local authority was held to have taken into consideration its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the decision was held to be a reasonable one in the context of the need to economise having to make public spending cuts. Held it was not necessary for the Equality Impact Assessment to be conducted before formulating the proposals, on which the public was rightly consulted.


2. Legal challenges against cuts to the provision of legal advice services


1. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Greenwich Community Law Centre) v Greenwich LBC [2012] Eq. L.R. 572

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Appeal against decision not to allow an application for judicial review to challenge the decision to stop funding to a service providing legal advice to vulnerable people. Appeal dismissed as was held the local authority did have due regard to its equality duties when making the decision. An appeal against the decision of a local authority not to allow judicial review was made to challenge a decision to stop funding a service which provided legal advice to some of the most vulnerable people in the area of London and the local authority had been one of its key funders. The applicant submitted there was not proper compliance by the local authority with its public sector equality duties in making this decision. Appeal Dismissed It was held only necessary for the local authority to consider characteristics likely to arise in exercising a public function and the local authority had considered all those groups with protected characteristics outlined in S.149 of the Act who might be realistically affected by their decision. Therefore it was held there was due regard taken to their equality duties.


2. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Rahman) v Birmingham City Council [2011] Eq. L.R. 705.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to a decision to stop funding legal advice services which provided advice to ethnic minorities and disabled people about their legal entitlements. The decision was held to be unlawful as in making the decision the local authority had failed to have due regard to its equality duties. Claimants challenged a local authority's decision to stop funding legal advice services advising ethnic minorities and disabled people of their legal entitlements made to reduce its budget on the basis that they claimed the decision was in breach of their equality duties with respect to race and disability equality. Appeal for Judicial Review Granted. The decision was held to be unlawful as there was no evidence that the decision makers had been aware of their equality duties when making the decision and also the equality impact assessment conducted was defective as only focused on the advantages of the new policy rather than the degree of disadvantage it would cause to existing users of the service.


3. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Robin Murray & Co) v Lord Chancellor [2011] EWHC 1528 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge of a decision to close a local Magistrates' Court. The decision was ruled to be reasonable and in making the decision the Lord Chancellor had discharged his equality duties. Application for judicial review was made against a decision to close two Magistrates' Courts following a decision in 2010 to close ninety-three Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales. The decision was challenged as being unreasonable and that in making the decision the Lord Chancellor had failed to discharge his equality duties in failing to consider the adverse impact the decision could have on certain groups. Application for Judicial Review Refused Decision maker did have due regard to his equality duties as sufficient evidence to show this due regard was gathered and adequate consultation had taken place. The duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination against disabled people and to consult disabled court users was only necessary to be reviewed if its assessment was Wednesbury unreasonable.


3. Legal challenges against cuts to social welfare programmes

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Winder and Others) v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Local Government Finance Act 1992, section 13A (2)(b); Equality Act 2010, section 149; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, protocol one, article 14; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, article 21 and 45. Local authority was held to not lawfully be able to adopt a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme that was restricted only to those who had lived in the borough for two years. After April 2013 the old council tax benefit (CTB) was abolished in favour of a new system, which requires each local authority in England to make a Council Tax Reduction Scheme ("CTR Scheme")Sandwell Council adopted a CTR Scheme that, for working age taxpayers, was restricted to those who have lived in the borough for the previous two years. The claimants contended that that resident requirement of Sandwell’s CTR Scheme is unlawful. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held, that the Council did not have power to impose CTR scheme’s residence requirement. According to the true construction of section 13A of the 1992 LGFA Act, a Council has no power to define a class by reference to non-financial need criteria. It was also held that the resident requirement was more likely to have a detrimental effect on women and was more likely to restrict the movements of a non-British EU citizen than a British EU citizen and so was in breach of EU law. The council put forward a defence that the restriction of movement was justified but this defence failed due to the lack of evidence put forward supporting the argument that the CTR scheme might have encouraged “benefit tourism”

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the Application of Cotton & Others ) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWHC 3437 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, article 8 and article 14. The claimants challenged the legality of the Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations 2012 on the basis that the removal of the spare room subsidy or “bedroom tax” interfered with their right to private and family life and that the regulations unlawfully discriminated against lone parents who were not in receipt of child benefit but shared child care responsibilities. This challenge concerned the impact of the removal of the spare room subsidy on divorced or separated parents who look after their children under shared care arrangements where the children or child alternates between living with each parent. Under the regulations, only the parent who has responsibility for the child can claim a separate bedroom. Where a child spends equal time with both parents, the parent deemed to have responsibility for their child is the one to whom child benefit is payable. Application for Judicial Review dismissed. It was found that the removal of the spare room subsidy did not amount to an interference with the claimant’s right to private and family life. The claimants in question continued to live in their original houses since the changes to housing benefit. Discretionary housing payments from the claimant’s local authorities made up for the shortfall created by the removal of the spare room subsidy. In examining whether the 2012 Regulations were unjustified in discriminating against parents with secondary care responsibility it was held that the regulations were not manifestly without reasonable foundation, and were justified in being brought in to contain growing expenditure on housing benefit and to tackle the deficit.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): Rutherford & Others v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2014] EWHC 1631 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; The claimants alleged that the Secretary of State unlawfully discriminated against them and their grandson, claiming that the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 should have made provisions to include children within the persons entitled to an extra bedroom for an overnight carer. The claimants were grandparents of a severely disabled child who required a carer to stay at their home two nights a week. The 2012 Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations made provisions for some categories of disabled persons to be exempted from the bedroom criteria but that did include a disabled child needing an overnight carer. The claimants did however receive discretionary housing payments which fully covered the experienced shortfall due to the 2012 Regulations. Application for Judicial Review Dismissed. Although the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 would have been held to be discriminatory if taken in isolation, it was held that the regulations and the DHP scheme had to be taken as a whole. The DHP scheme could be satisfactorily relied upon to cover the shortfall created by the 2012 Regulations when a person with an ascertained need for an additional bedroom would have otherwise been the subject of discrimination on grounds of disability.

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (On the Application Of SG & Others) v The Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 156

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Convention Human Rights 1950, article 8; Welfare Reform Act 2012; Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012. Claimants appealed the High Court’s finding that the Benefit Cap did not unlawfully discriminate against the claimants as women and restrict their right to family life. The Secretary of State argued that any interference with family life and any discriminatory impact of the benefit cap on women is justified and lawful. The Benefit Cap introduced in 2012, affects the maximum amount of housing benefits and other benefits an individual can receive. The claimants in this case all had their total amount of benefits reduced as a result of the benefit cap. The claimants argued that the reduction was so great it could not be negated by prudent housekeeping and as victims of domestic abuse the claimants were not in positions to move in with their former partners and did not want to move home due to connections and ties in the local area. Appeal Dismissed. It was conceded by the Secretary of State that the benefit cap has a disproportionately adverse impact on lone parents living with their children the majority of which are statistically women. It was held however that the discriminatory effect of the cap and whether the cap was an infringement of the right to family life was justified as the benefit cap was not manifestly without reasonable foundation. Considerable weight was placed on the fact that the cap is an aspect of social policy on the distribution of state benefits and that the 2012 Regulations were approved by affirmative resolutions of both the House of Lords and House of Parliament.

5. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of MA & Others) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 13

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, protocol one, article 14; Equality Act 2010, section 149. The claimants argued that the reduction in rent or “bedroom tax” caused by the 2012 Regulations discriminated against disabled persons without justification. In addition the claimants argued that the Secretary of State introduced the new measures in breach of his public sector equality duty (PSED) to have "due regard" to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled persons. The criteria introduced by the 2012 Regulations which defined under/over-occupation and thus when a deduction in rent should occur was based solely around the needs of non-disabled households. There were however discretionary housing payments (DHPs) available where local authorities could consider handing out payments to households unfairly affected by the 2012 regulations so there would be no net loss suffered by these households. Appeal dismissed. Held, that rather than considering the 2012 regulations on their own, it was necessary to consider specific exemptions for disabled people contained in the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) 2013 Regulations and the availability of the DHP scheme. Considering the DHP Scheme was a more flexible way of meeting needs, than listing an exhaustive list of exemptions in the regulations, the regulations were not manifestly without reasonable foundation, and thus any resulting discrimination was justified. It was also held that by considering what claims should be dealt with by DHPs and whether DHPs would be suitable for dealing with such claims the Secretary of State did not breach his PSED.

6. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Sumpter) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWHC 2434 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. The claimant contended that the Secretary of State’s decision to adopt a 20m criterion to receive the higher rate of mobility allowance under the new PIP scheme is unlawful. The claimant argued that the consultation that led to 20m criterion being adopted was flawed, and that the Secretary of State failed to comply with his public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. The mobility component under the previous disability living allowance (DLA) scheme had two rates. A claimant would satisfy the higher rate if they were unable to walk more than 50m unaided. Under the new PIP scheme, in order to receive the higher rate of mobility component, a claimant now had to prove that they cannot walk more than 20m. The claimant in this instance was fearful that he would not satisfy the 20m walking criterion, and thus lose his higher rate of mobility component and with it, his mobility vehicle and a loss of independence. Claim dismissed. It was held that the obligations imposed upon a decision-maker in the course of consultation where a consultation is voluntary, as it was in the current case, must not be unreasonably onerous; otherwise effective decision-making might be impaired. It was also held that the Secretary of State clearly had the impact of the proposals, and how they would affect disabled individuals well in mind and so was not in breach of his public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to show due regard to the impact of the proposals.

7. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of MM & DM) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWCA Civ MM & DM,

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, section 20 and 21. Claimants wished to uphold the tribunal’s decision that the current assessment method in place for claimants to receive ESA, places those with mental health problems at a disadvantage. Claimants held that the Secretary of State under the Equality Act 2010 should have made reasonable adjustments to avoid this disadvantage during the assessment process. The Secretary of State appealed the Tribunal’s findings that the claimants suffered substantial disadvantage. ESA was introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2007 in place of Incapacity Benefit. The work capability assessment for ESA involves completing an ESA50 form and a medical assessment carried out by a medically trained person, although not necessarily a doctor. It was put forward that claimants with mental health problems are likely to suffer disproportionate stress and not receive a full appreciation of their disability during the interview process, thus leading to falsely rejected claims. The claimants argued that this disadvantage could be mitigated by requiring further medical evidence to be obtained in instances where an individual suffers from mental health disability before a decision is reached. Appeal upheld on final ground. The tribunal’s decision that the claimants and other persons who suffer from mental health disability are put at disadvantage during the ESA assessment process was upheld. The tribunal was upheld by the Court of Appeal to be correct in assessing potential disadvantage as relating both to the actual outcome itself, and to the process leading up to it. It was however held that the Tribunal had overstepped its powers in determining for itself what constitutes a reasonable adjustment and directing the Secretary of State to take such direction. It is ultimately for the Secretary of State to adduce such evidence and advance such arguments as he thinks appropriate in order to discharge the burden placed upon him to make reasonable adjustments.

8. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (On the Application of Branwood) v The Secretary of State for Communities And Local Government [2013] EWHC 1024 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, section 149. The claimant challenged Rochdale Council’s decision to adopt a particular Local Council Tax Support Scheme, on the basis that the decision was unlawful due to lack of proper consultation and on the basis that the council breached its public sector equality duty under section 149 of Equality Act. The effect of the introduction of the LCTS scheme meant that the Claimant became worse off, receiving only an 80% cap on liability for her council tax bill rather than a 100% cap. Although Rochdale Council consulted the claimant on the proposed LCTS, the claimant contends that this did not constitute a proper consultation as there was amongst other failures, a failure to consult about alternative schemes, and a failure to provide sufficient information to enable consultees to give an intelligent response. Application for Judicial Review Granted. It was found that the Council was careful and conscientious in its consultation of those likely to be affected by the draft scheme, and thus the claimants’ arguments that the consultation did not constitute a proper consultation failed. It was also held that Rochdale decision-makers considered and conscientiously applied their minds to the equality impacts of the proposed LCTS scheme at all relevant stages. Weight was placed on the fact the council had undertaken an equality impact assessment on the proposed scheme.

9. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Reilly) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] UKSC 68

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Jobseeker's Act 1995, Section 17A; Job Seeker’s Allowance Regulations 2011, Regulations 3-8; Job Seeker’s Allowance Regulations 2013, Regulations 3-4; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, article 4. A cross appeal from the Court of Appeal. The Secretary of State appealed the decision that regulations outlining JSA back to work schemes were unlawful. The claimants appealed the decision that these schemes were not a breach of their rights under article 4 of the ECHR. Case was found in favour of the Secretary of State given the newly drafted 2013 Regulations. The Sector Based Work Academy Scheme (sbwa) involved a short period of training and a work-experience placement and the Community Action Programme (CAP) involved six months unpaid work experience. Both schemes were launched with the intention of getting long term claimants off Job Seeker’s Allowance and back to work. The claimants in this case were appealing the Court of Appeal’s decision that these schemes did not amount to forced compulsory labour. The Secretary of State in turn appealed against the previous finding that the 2011 Regulations contained insufficient details about both schemes. Appeal Dismissed. After the Court of Appeal’s decision, the 2013 Regulations were drafted to address the court’s conclusion that the 2011 Regulations did not contain sufficient details of the sbwa and CAP and therefore were created ultra vires of section 17A of the Job Seeker’s Act. Were it not for the 2013 Regulations the Supreme Court would have affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision, but the 2013 regulations had been created as such to comply with section 17A of the Job Seeker’s Act. The claimant’s appeal that the schemes were in breach of article 4 of the ECHR failed, as it was held that imposition of work conditions intended to support the purposes for which JSA was provided for, did not fall within the underlying objective of article four.

10. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Buckley and others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 512 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to Council Tax benefit changes, whereby residents who previously received 100% exemption would be required to pay 23% of their Council Tax liability.

The claimants submitted that the Defendant had failed to have due regard to the impact of the proposals on those with "protected characteristics" such as children and disabled people as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. It was further submitted that compliance with the public sector equality duty required the authority to identify the number of children and disabled persons affected by the proposal, analyse the impact on them and consider whether any negative impact could be avoided or mitigated.

Claim dismissed. The local authority did have due regard to the impact of the proposals. This was set out in a consultation document, which looked at how protected groups would be affected and recognised that the changes would be more difficult for such residents than others. Extra support was proposed for the most vulnerable, such as those with children or those with disabilities in the form of a hardship fund, and it was considered whether there were alternative means of developing a scheme which had less impact on persons with protected characteristics. The judgment emphasised that the courts should not micro-manage the exercise of the public sector equality duty.

11. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 233 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision to introduce a cap to housing benefit that could be paid to the level of general inflation, even when inflation in the rental sector was higher. Held, the decision was lawful as the equality duties had been discharged. The claimant, a charity concerned with poverty issues caused by unfairness in the law and the benefits system, submitted that the decision would unfairly disadvantage disabled people, ethnic minorities and children of school age. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, it was submitted that the Secretary of State had failed to give appropriate consideration to the equality impact on these protected groups, and further, that measures to mitigate had not been adequately considered as these potential disadvantages had not been properly identified. Application Dismissed Held, that although the Court was 'not particularly impressed' with the quality of the Equality Impact Assessment, it was adequate to discharge the section 149 duties.


12. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Child Poverty Action Group v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to the Government's proposed changes to the housing benefit scheme to reduce the maximum size property available for benefit from five bedrooms to four and to introduce a cap on weekly rates of local housing allowance. This challenge was rejected as the decision was held to be a reasonable one. The CPAG was concerned the changes would make areas of Central London no longer accessible for housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector. It was also concerned that changes would disproportionality affect black and minority ethnic groups and lone parents. The applicants held the introduction of weekly caps were outside the Secretary of State’s powers conferred to him by the Housing Act 1996 and therefore the decision was made unlawfully Also, in making the changes the group claimed the Secretary of State had failed to properly fulfil his public sector equality duties as when conducting equality impact assessments they claimed he had failed to make use of relevant readily available data. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The Secretary of State had due regard to his equality duties as two equality impact assessments had been carried out and he was well aware of his equality duties and had paid specific regard to them. In conducting the impact assessments proper regard had been taken to relevant data and the assessments contained enough information to discharge his equality duties.


4. Legal challenges against cuts to other public services

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of LH) v Shropshire Council [2014] EWCA Civ 404

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, section 149. Claimants appealed the previous decision that a local authority sufficiently consulted citizens when deciding to close a day centre. It was also claimed that the council failed to comply with the statutory public sector equality duty to have "due regard" to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled persons. The claimant had been attending the Hartleys Day Centre for several years and had long-standing friendships with other users of centre. The Council had consulted generally about the new day care system which it brought in, and made clear that some day centres would close as a result of the changes. The claimant argues that users of the Hartleys Centre should have been consulted in relation to the closure of Hartleys itself before it occurred. Appeal allowed. Although Shropshire Council had taken a great deal of trouble to explain its reconfiguration of Adult Day Care and the application of personalised budgets, the omission to consult the users and relatives on the closure of Hartleys Day Centre before it decided to close it, was found to be unlawful. It was found however that the widespread consultations that took place in relation to the reconfiguration of Adult Day Care services prove that the Council did have due regard to their public sector equality duty.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): Hunt v North Somerset Council [2012] Eq. L.R. 951

Legislation Used in Claim

Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision of local authority to reduce its budget for the provision of youth services. It was held that the local authority had given sufficient due regard to its equality duties to satisfy the legislation's requirements. The defendant sought a quashing order in relation to an item on the revenue budget of the local authority relating to the financial provision for youth services, as since 2011 local authorities have all been faced with significant cuts in its allocation of funds. The proposal adopted by the local authority was instead promoting non-council funded activities and transferring responsibility to towns/ parish councils and community groups, or even as a last resort closing youth centres. The decision was challenged for failing to take into account public sector equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Refused. Evidence showed the local authority did have due regard to these matters in reaching their decision. It carried out an equality impact assessment and dealt with in detail the impact that reducing the youth service budget would have to those with protected characteristics in Section 149(7) of the Equality Act 2010, and set out conclusions in considering how to minimise the impact it had on those groups.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Siwak) v Newham LBC [2012] Eq. L.R. 670.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to decision that future problem-solving advice services would be provided by local authority officers and would not include, as previously, any advice from the voluntary sector. Was held that the authority had not failed to comply with its equality duties and consultation at that stage in the decision making process would have been premature. Applicant attempted to challenge a decision of a local authority that future problem-solving advice services would be provided by local authority officers and would not include, as previously, any advice from the voluntary sector. The applicant challenged the decision on the basis that the local authority in reaching its decision failed to comply with its public sector equality duty and that the decision was unfair due to the local authority’s failure to consult before reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Refused Consultation would have been premature during the early stages of the decision making process.

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgment): R. (On the Application of Hajrula) v London Councils [2011] A.C.D. 53

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of a decision to withdraw funding from a support group. The decision was quashed for being unlawful as the local authority in making the decision failed to have due regard to their equality duties. Claimants applied for judicial review when a decision by a local authority to withdraw the group’s funding was made due to a need to make spending cuts. The funding cut was a result of a public spending review requiring the local authority to revise its grant scheme for voluntary organisations in light of the need to make spending cuts. It was argued that in withdrawing funding the local authority did not carry out a thorough equality impact assessment or consider the effects on groups disadvantaged by race, gender or disability. Application for Judicial Review Granted The local authority had failed to discharge their equality duties and give due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations in the performance of its functions. In this case the duty to have due regard to equality duties was held to be all the higher when making decisions involving vulnerable people.

5. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Meany) v Harlow DC [2009] EWHC 559 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to a decision to reduce the grant a local authority paid to welfare advice servives. The application was granted as it was held the local authority had not satisfied the "due regard" requirement to show they had sufficiently considered their equality duties. The claimants applied for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to reduce the grant it paid for welfare advice services by 80 per cent due to the local authority experiencing financial difficulties and needing to make budget cuts. The claimants wanted to challenge the decision on the basis that the local authority failed to have due regard to their equality duties in reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. The local authority had not taken enough due regard to equality duties. The local authority did not give enough weight to certain important factors or consider the effect that the decision would have in several areas before the decision was reached.

6. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of Brown) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2008] EWHC 3158 (Admin)1506

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) Challenge of Government's Post Office closure programme failed as held equality duties had been discharged. The decision of the Secretary of State relating to the Government’s post office closure programme was challenged for being in breach of their equality duties under the Disability Discrimination Act for failing to perform or publish any disability impact assessment or carry out an equivalent impact assessment in regards to the impact of the post office closure strategy on disabled people, like on the claimant who relied on their local post office. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The Secretary of State had due regard to their duty and was not required to carry out a formal disability impact assessment when exercising its functions.

5. Legal challenges against cuts affecting women and single parents

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the Application of Cotton & Others ) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWHC 3437 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, article 8 and article 14. The claimants challenged the legality of the Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations 2012 on the basis that the removal of the spare room subsidy or “bedroom tax” interfered with their right to private and family life and that the regulations unlawfully discriminated against lone parents who were not in receipt of child benefit but shared child care responsibilities. This challenge concerned the impact of the removal of the spare room subsidy on divorced or separated parents who look after their children under shared care arrangements where the children or child alternates between living with each parent. Under the regulations, only the parent who has responsibility for the child can claim a separate bedroom. Where a child spends equal time with both parents, the parent deemed to have responsibility for their child is the one to whom child benefit is payable. Application for Judicial Review dismissed. It was found that the removal of the spare room subsidy did not amount to an interference with the claimant’s right to private and family life. The claimants in question continued to live in their original houses since the changes to housing benefit. Discretionary housing payments from the claimant’s local authorities made up for the shortfall created by the removal of the spare room subsidy. In examining whether the 2012 Regulations were unjustified in discriminating against parents with secondary care responsibility it was held that the regulations were not manifestly without reasonable foundation, and were justified in being brought in to contain growing expenditure on housing benefit and to tackle the deficit.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (On the Application Of SG & Others) v The Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 156

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Convention Human Rights 1950, article 8; Welfare Reform Act 2012; Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012. Claimants appealed the High Court’s finding that the Benefit Cap did not unlawfully discriminate against the claimants as women and restrict their right to family life. The Secretary of State argued that any interference with family life and any discriminatory impact of the benefit cap on women is justified and lawful. The Benefit Cap introduced in 2012, affects the maximum amount of housing benefits and other benefits an individual can receive. The claimants in this case all had their total amount of benefits reduced as a result of the benefit cap. The claimants argued that the reduction was so great it could not be negated by prudent housekeeping and as victims of domestic abuse the claimants were not in positions to move in with their former partners and did not want to move home due to connections and ties in the local area. Appeal Dismissed. It was conceded by the Secretary of State that the benefit cap has a disproportionately adverse impact on lone parents living with their children the majority of which are statistically women. It was held however that the discriminatory effect of the cap and whether the cap was an infringement of the right to family life was justified as the benefit cap was not manifestly without reasonable foundation. Considerable weight was placed on the fact that the cap is an aspect of social policy on the distribution of state benefits and that the 2012 Regulations were approved by affirmative resolutions of both the House of Lords and House of Parliament.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Winder and Others) v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Local Government Finance Act 1992, section 13A (2)(b); Equality Act 2010, section 149; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, protocol one, article 14; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, article 21 and 45. Local authority was held to not lawfully be able to adopt a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme that was restricted only to those who had lived in the borough for two years. After April 2013 the old council tax benefit (CTB) was abolished in favour of a new system, which requires each local authority in England to make a Council Tax Reduction Scheme ("CTR Scheme")Sandwell Council adopted a CTR Scheme that, for working age taxpayers, was restricted to those who have lived in the borough for the previous two years. The claimants contended that that resident requirement of Sandwell’s CTR Scheme is unlawful. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held, that the Council did not have power to impose CTR scheme’s residence requirement. According to the true construction of section 13A of the 1992 LGFA Act, a Council has no power to define a class by reference to non-financial need criteria. It was also held that the resident requirement was more likely to have a detrimental effect on women and was more likely to restrict the movements of a non-British EU citizen than a British EU citizen and so was in breach of EU law. The council put forward a defence that the restriction of movement was justified but this defence failed due to the lack of evidence put forward supporting the argument that the CTR scheme might have encouraged “benefit tourism”

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of T & others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 2953 (QB).

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; Childcare Act 2006, Section 1, 3(2), 3(3) and 6.

Challenge to decision withdrawing subsidies from 20 independent nurseries in "relatively deprived" areas in Sheffield, which provided funding for the Free Early Learning ('FEL') intitiative and childcare provision. Decision held to be lawful as it was ruled the defendant had discharged their equality duties. Application for judicial review to challenge the decision to remove subsidies for independent nurseries offering childcare for three to four year olds in the face of reduced sums available for discretionary funding. This would result in an immediate cut of 25%, potentially forcing some nurseries to close. There were concerns about the equality implications of the cuts, such as access to childcare amongst deprived families, a reduction of access to childcare for BME communities, and the impact of reduncies on childcare staff, which would disproportionately affect women and BME staff. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, the claimants contended that the defendant failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty pursuant to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and that the support offered to mitigate the effects of the cuts were inadequate to discharge the duty. Application dismissed. Held, that in this case the defendant had had due regard which was appropriate in all the circumstances, although it was noted that a formal Equality Impact Assessment does not preclude the taking of other steps to discharge the public sector equality duty . The defendant had demonstrated "a proper and conscientious focus on the statutory criteria" and the court could not therefore interfere with the decision simply on the grounds that it would have given greater weight to considerations of equality.

5. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Green) v Gloucestershire CC ; R. (On the Application of Rowe & Hird) v Somerset CC [2011] EWHC 2687 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of decisions to withdraw funding from library services and reduce opening hours. Decision held to be unlawful due to the local authorities’ failure to comply with their public sector equality duty in failing to undertake a sufficiently thorough information-gathering process. Two local authorities had withdrawn funding from static library service and Gloucestershire had withdrawn its mobile library services (which Somerset reduced). The result of the cuts would mean that some of the libraries would be forced to close entirely unless volunteers ran them. The applicants claimed in making the decision the local authorities had breached their public sector equality duties and failed to properly consult in making the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted The decision was ruled as unlawful due to both local authorities failing to comply with their public sector equality duties. The carrying out of equality impact assessments was not enough to evidence that due regard had been given to their equality duties. It had to be borne in mind that the withdrawal of a local library might well indirectly discriminate against people with physical disabilities, women and the elderly, which it was not when the decision was made. Both local authorities were held to have failed to have assessed the needs that its library services had to meet.

6. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgment): R. (On the Application of Hajrula) v London Councils [2011] A.C.D. 53

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of a decision to withdraw funding from a support group. The decision was quashed for being unlawful as the local authority in making the decision failed to have due regard to their equality duties. Claimants applied for judicial review when a decision by a local authority to withdraw the group’s funding was made due to a need to make spending cuts. The funding cut was a result of a public spending review requiring the local authority to revise its grant scheme for voluntary organisations in light of the need to make spending cuts. It was argued that in withdrawing funding the local authority did not carry out a thorough equality impact assessment or consider the effects on groups disadvantaged by race, gender or disability. Application for Judicial Review Granted The local authority had failed to discharge their equality duties and give due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations in the performance of its functions. In this case the duty to have due regard to equality duties was held to be all the higher when making decisions involving vulnerable people.

7. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Child Poverty Action Group v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to the Government's proposed changes to the housing benefit scheme to reduce the maximum size property available for benefit from five bedrooms to four and to introduce a cap on weekly rates of local housing allowance. This challenge was rejected as the decision was held to be a reasonable one. The CPAG was concerned the changes would make areas of Central London no longer accessible for housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector. It was also concerned that changes would disproportionality affect black and minority ethnic groups and lone parents. The applicants held the introduction of weekly caps were outside the Secretary of State’s powers conferred to him by the Housing Act 1996 and therefore the decision was made unlawfully Also, in making the changes the group claimed the Secretary of State had failed to properly fulfil his public sector equality duties as when conducting equality impact assessments they claimed he had failed to make use of relevant readily available data. Application for Judicial Review Refused The Secretary of State had due regard to his equality duties as two equality impact assessments had been carried out and he was well aware of his equality duties and had paid specific regard to them. In conducting the impact assessments proper regard had been taken to relevant data and the assessments contained enough information to discharge his equality duties.


8. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Meany) v Harlow DC [2009] EWHC 559 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to a decision to reduce the grant a local authority paid to welfare advice servives. The application was granted as it was held the local authority had not satisfied the "due regard" requirement to show they had sufficiently considered their equality duties. The claimants applied for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to reduce the grant it paid for welfare advice services by 80 per cent due to the local authority experiencing financial difficulties and needing to make budget cuts. The claimants wanted to challenge the decision on the basis that the local authority failed to have due regard to their equality duties in reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. The local authority had not taken enough due regard to equality duties. The local authority did not give enough weight to certain important factors or consider the effect that the decision would have in several areas before the decision was reached.

9. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of Kaur) v Ealing LBC [2008] EWHC 2062 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Race Relations Act 1976 Section 71(1)


Challenge to a local authority's decision that a provider of services exclusively to ethnic minority residents experiencing domestic violence should instead be undertaken by a single provider throughout the borough, providing services to all irrespective of ethnic origin. Application for judicial review was granted as was held the local authority had acted unlawfully in reaching a decision before a full equality impact assessment had been carried out. The local authority’s proposed change of funding threatened the survival of a service aimed at providing services to ethnic minority residents experiencing domestic violence, by instead deciding to award funds to a provider of services to all individuals experiencing domestic violence irrespective of their ethnic origin. Concerns were expressed that ceasing to fund the service aimed at helping women from ethnic minorities would have a disproportionate impact on black and ethnic minority women and claimed no racial equality impact assessment had been conducted. Application for Judicial Review Granted Was held the local authority had acted unlawfully in reaching its decision before a full racial equality impact assessment had been undertaken.


6. Legal challenges against cuts affecting older people


1. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (on the application of South Tyneside Care Home Owners Association and others) v South Tyneside Council [2013] EWHC 1827 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge against the introduction of new fee arrangements payable by the defendant to residential and nursing homes, which would result in cuts that carried a "real and serious risk of closures". It was held that the authority had failed to discharge its equality duties in reaching the decision. Application made for judicial review to challenge the council's introduction of new fee arrangements, which would result in a reduction of 10% across the board. The claimants submitted that the defendant had failed both to take into account the cost of care and to discharge its public sector equality duty. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, it was submitted that it failed to meet the equality duty threshold, as the defendant take into acount various risks, such as whether the fees were sufficient to cover the cost of care and the impact on quality of care provision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held, that the defendant had failed to discharge its equality duties, as demonstrated by the lack of evidence of adequate assessment of equality implications and the extent of error in the decision-making process.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Green) v Gloucestershire CC ; R. (On the Application of Rowe & Hird) v Somerset CC [2011] EWHC 2687 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of decisions to withdraw funding from library services and reduce opening hours. Decision held to be unlawful due to the local authorities’ failure to comply with their public sector equality duty in failing to undertake a sufficiently thorough information-gathering process. Two local authorities had withdrawn funding from static library service and Gloucestershire had withdrawn its mobile library services (which Somerset reduced). The result of the cuts would mean that some of the libraries would be forced to close entirely unless volunteers ran them. The applicants claimed in making the decision the local authorities had breached their public sector equality duties and failed to properly consult in making the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted The decision was ruled as unlawful due to both local authorities failing to comply with their public sector equality duties. The carrying out of equality impact assessments was not enough to evidence that due regard had been given to their equality duties. It had to be borne in mind that the withdrawal of a local library might well indirectly discriminate against people with physical disabilities, women and the elderly, which it was not when the decision was made. Both local authorities were held to have failed to have assessed the needs that its library services had to meet.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of South West Care Homes Ltd. and Others) v Devon County Council [2012] EWHC 2967 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision on fee rates to be paid for the provision of residential accommodation. Held, the Council failed to discharge its equality duties.

The claimants own and operate over 400 care and nursing homes in Devon, each of which has residents who are elderly and/or who have a disability. The claimants submitted that the fee rates did not reflect the actual cost of care, which made some of the homes financially unviable with and created a risk of deteriorating quality of care. The claimants further submitted that the only discriminatory impact on elderly or disabled residents identified in the Council's Equality Impact Assessment was the need to relocate if homes fail, and no mitigation measures were identified. The claimants submitted that the Council therfore failed to discharge its equality duties.

Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held, the Council failed "to have due regard, in substance or with rigour or with an open mind, to the need to eliminate discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity amongst elderly or disabled residents."

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Rajput) v Waltham Forest LBC and R (On the Application of Tiller) v East Sussex CC [2012] B.L.G.R. 506

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Appeal against refusal to apply for judicial review of a decision to close a day centre and to change the level of service provided at sheltered housing from 24 hour service to an onsite manager during daytime and off-site services at other times. It was held that the local authority had successfully discharged its equality duties in reaching the decision. The first appellant appealed against a refusal to apply for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to close a day centre. The second appellant appealed against dismissal of his application for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to change the level of service provided at his sheltered housing, which had previously funded a 24-hour non-residential warden service for elderly and disabled residents of the sheltered housing. Both challenges were made on the basis that the local authorities had failed to discharge their equality duties in making the following decisions. Appeal Dismissed. There had been no failure to discharge equality duties as the decision was reached in a context exclusively concerned with the interests of elderly and disabled people. There was an understanding of concerns raised and satisfaction that concerns would be met by the decision.


5. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of D) v Manchester City Council [2012] EWHC 17 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) Challenge of a local authority's decision to reduce its budget for adult social care failed as was held in making the decision the local authority had due regard to its disability equality duty. The applicants were both disabled and elderly people receiving social care services from the local authority’s adult services department and claimed the local authority in making the decision had not taken due regard to its disability equality duty as there was no evidence that the local authority had paid any regard to the equality duty and as there had been no equality impact needs assessment conducted which the claimants stated was evidence of the failure to have due regard to their equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The local authority was held to have considered enough what effects the decision would have on disabled people to fulfil the “due regard” requirement and equality duties as had made a contingency fund and guarantees as to how individual’s needs would still be met. The consultation taken was also extensive evidencing that the local authority had had due regard to its equality duties. It was also held that there was no statutory duty requiring that an equality impact needs assessment must be carried out.

6. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Sefton Care Association) v Sefton Council [2012] P.T.S.R. D13

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge against a decision to freeze fees a local authority paid to private care home providers. The decision was held to be unlawful as the decision was made without properly consulting with the care homes providers or having due regard to the actual costs of care. Judicial review applied for against a decision of a local authority to freeze the amount of fees it paid to care homes. In 2010, without any prior consultation with the homes, it stated it would not increase the fees it paid for placements in 2010/2011. When it later faced cuts in central Government funding, the local authorities also determined that it could make savings by freezing fees for a further year, a proposal which was not communicated to the care home providers until late 2010. The decision was challenged on the basis that the local authority had failed to have due regard to the actual cost of care, had failed to consult, its decision was purely motivated by budget considerations and they had failed to comply with their equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Although the decision was quashed, the challenge on grounds of the local authority failing to fulfil its public sector equality duty was held not to be relevant in deciding the fees, as the fee-freeze would not be potentially discriminatory to any group. The decision was quashed on the basis that the local authority had failed to have due regard to the actual costs of care.


7. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of East Midlands Care Ltd) v Leicestershire CC [2011] EWHC 3096

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to freeze fees paid to care homes. The decision was held to be unlawful as was carried out without proper consultation and and without considering the actual cost of care. The decision of a local authority to freeze the fees it would pay to care homes in 2011/2012 was challenged on the basis that the local authority had failed to take into consideration its disability equality duty. Application for Judicial Review Granted. The local authority failed to meet requirements for effective consultation as it was inadequate. Also, the local authority did not take into consideration the actual cost of care and the adverse consequences of the decision for residents. However, held not appropriate to challenge the decision on grounds of breaching equality duties as there was evidence they were attended to.


8. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): Barwick v Bridgend CBC [2009] EWHC 1723 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge of a local authority's decision to close a care home. The application was refused as it was held the local authority had conducted the consultation process fairly and lawfully and had discharged its equality duties. Applicants challenged the decision to close the care home in which they lived. This was as residents had a legitimate expectation to be consulted about the decision but were only informed three days before the decision was approved. The applicants therefore challenged the decision on the basis that the local authority had failed to adequately consult at the formative stage of the proposals and had not had due regard to its equality duties in reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The application for judicial review was not granted as the consultation had been conducted fairly and lawfully and in making the decision the local authority had due regard to its equality duties.


9. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of Boyejo) v Barnet LBC [2009] EWHC 3261 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge of decision to replace resident wardens and staff from sheltered housing schemes with non-residential support. The application was successful as it was held that equality duties were not sufficiently brought to the attention of decision makers and given enough consideration . Applicants challenged the decision to withdraw resident wardens or staff from sheltered housing schemes. The applicants claimed in reaching the decision the local authority failed to take into account their equality duties, particularly the duty to take account of elderly people’s disabilities, even if it involved treating disabled people more favourably than other people. The applicants also claimed the authority failed to consult or involve the residents properly in the decision making process. They also claimed the conclusions of the equality impact assessments were Wednesbury unreasonable. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held there was a failure to bring the equality duties adequately to the attention of decision makers and not adequate regard to the need to take account of people’s disabilities, even if that meant treating them more favourably than other persons. The requirement to consult had been undertaken adequately however. The conclusions reached by the equality impact assessments were held to be Wednesbury unreasonable.


10. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R v North and East Devon Health Authority Ex Parte Coughlan [2001] Q.B. 213

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Covention on Human Rights 1950, Article 8 Challenge to decision of closing a care home in which applicant had been promised would be her home for life. The decision was ruled as being unfair in breaching the applicant's legitmate expectations. An elderly and disabled lady was moved to a purpose built home providing services for the severely disabled, being told that it would be a permanent home for her. When a decision was later made to close the home the applicant applied for judicial review of the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held the decision was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and also a breach of legitimate expectation due to the promise of the local authority that the care home would be a home for life for the applicant. The decision for closure was ruled as being unfair and could not be justified by the overriding public interest to save money.


7. Legal challenges against cuts affecting disabled people

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): Rutherford & Others v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2014] EWHC 1631 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; The claimants alleged that the Secretary of State unlawfully discriminated against them and their grandson, claiming that the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 should have made provisions to include children within the persons entitled to an extra bedroom for an overnight carer. The claimants were grandparents of a severely disabled child who required a carer to stay at their home two nights a week. The 2012 Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations made provisions for some categories of disabled persons to be exempted from the bedroom criteria but that did include a disabled child needing an overnight carer. The claimants did however receive discretionary housing payments which fully covered the experienced shortfall due to the 2012 Regulations. Application for Judicial Review Dismissed. Although the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 would have been held to be discriminatory if taken in isolation, it was held that the regulations and the DHP scheme had to be taken as a whole. The DHP scheme could be satisfactorily relied upon to cover the shortfall created by the 2012 Regulations when a person with an ascertained need for an additional bedroom would have otherwise been the subject of discrimination on grounds of disability.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of MA & Others) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 13

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, protocol one, article 14; Equality Act 2010, section 149. The claimants argued that the reduction in rent or “bedroom tax” caused by the 2012 Regulations discriminated against disabled persons without justification. In addition the claimants argued that the Secretary of State introduced the new measures in breach of his public sector equality duty (PSED) to have "due regard" to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled persons. The criteria introduced by the 2012 Regulations which defined under/over-occupation and thus when a deduction in rent should occur was based solely around the needs of non-disabled households. There were however discretionary housing payments (DHPs) available where local authorities could consider handing out payments to households unfairly affected by the 2012 regulations so there would be no net loss suffered by these households. Appeal dismissed. Held, that rather than considering the 2012 regulations on their own, it was necessary to consider specific exemptions for disabled people contained in the Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) 2013 Regulations and the availability of the DHP scheme. Considering the DHP Scheme was a more flexible way of meeting needs, than listing an exhaustive list of exemptions in the regulations, the regulations were not manifestly without reasonable foundation, and thus any resulting discrimination was justified. It was also held that by considering what claims should be dealt with by DHPs and whether DHPs would be suitable for dealing with such claims the Secretary of State did not breach his PSED.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Sumpter) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWHC 2434 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. The claimant contended that the Secretary of State’s decision to adopt a 20m criterion to receive the higher rate of mobility allowance under the new PIP scheme is unlawful. The claimant argued that the consultation that led to 20m criterion being adopted was flawed, and that the Secretary of State failed to comply with his public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. The mobility component under the previous disability living allowance (DLA) scheme had two rates. A claimant would satisfy the higher rate if they were unable to walk more than 50m unaided. Under the new PIP scheme, in order to receive the higher rate of mobility component, a claimant now had to prove that they cannot walk more than 20m. The claimant in this instance was fearful that he would not satisfy the 20m walking criterion, and thus lose his higher rate of mobility component and with it, his mobility vehicle and a loss of independence. Claim dismissed. It was held that the obligations imposed upon a decision-maker in the course of consultation where a consultation is voluntary, as it was in the current case, must not be unreasonably onerous; otherwise effective decision-making might be impaired. It was also held that the Secretary of State clearly had the impact of the proposals, and how they would affect disabled individuals well in mind and so was not in breach of his public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to show due regard to the impact of the proposals.

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of LH) v Shropshire Council [2014] EWCA Civ 404

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, section 149. Claimants appealed the previous decision that a local authority sufficiently consulted citizens when deciding to close a day centre. It was also claimed that the council failed to comply with the statutory public sector equality duty to have "due regard" to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled persons. The claimant had been attending the Hartleys Day Centre for several years and had long-standing friendships with other users of centre. The Council had consulted generally about the new day care system which it brought in, and made clear that some day centres would close as a result of the changes. The claimant argues that users of the Hartleys Centre should have been consulted in relation to the closure of Hartleys itself before it occurred. Appeal allowed. Although Shropshire Council had taken a great deal of trouble to explain its reconfiguration of Adult Day Care and the application of personalised budgets, the omission to consult the users and relatives on the closure of Hartleys Day Centre before it decided to close it, was found to be unlawful. It was found however that the widespread consultations that took place in relation to the reconfiguration of Adult Day Care services prove that the Council did have due regard to their public sector equality duty.

5. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of MM & DM) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWCA Civ MM & DM,

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, section 20 and 21. Claimants wished to uphold the tribunal’s decision that the current assessment method in place for claimants to receive ESA, places those with mental health problems at a disadvantage. Claimants held that the Secretary of State under the Equality Act 2010 should have made reasonable adjustments to avoid this disadvantage during the assessment process. The Secretary of State appealed the Tribunal’s findings that the claimants suffered substantial disadvantage. ESA was introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2007 in place of Incapacity Benefit. The work capability assessment for ESA involves completing an ESA50 form and a medical assessment carried out by a medically trained person, although not necessarily a doctor. It was put forward that claimants with mental health problems are likely to suffer disproportionate stress and not receive a full appreciation of their disability during the interview process, thus leading to falsely rejected claims. The claimants argued that this disadvantage could be mitigated by requiring further medical evidence to be obtained in instances where an individual suffers from mental health disability before a decision is reached. Appeal upheld on final ground. The tribunal’s decision that the claimants and other persons who suffer from mental health disability are put at disadvantage during the ESA assessment process was upheld. The tribunal was upheld by the Court of Appeal to be correct in assessing potential disadvantage as relating both to the actual outcome itself, and to the process leading up to it. It was however held that the Tribunal had overstepped its powers in determining for itself what constitutes a reasonable adjustment and directing the Secretary of State to take such direction. It is ultimately for the Secretary of State to adduce such evidence and advance such arguments as he thinks appropriate in order to discharge the burden placed upon him to make reasonable adjustments.


6. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): Stuart Bracking and Others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWCA Civ 1345

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Judicial Review challenge made by disabled claimants against proposed abolition of the Independent Living Fund. The claimants challenged the decision to close the ILF on the grounds that it breached the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The claimants submitted that the information supplied by the consultation was inadequate, and that the Minister failed to discharge the PSED in the process of making her decision, as the information provided to her on the impact on disabled people was inadequate. The claimants further submitted that there was not a specific focus on the statutory criteria, in particular the positive obligation to have due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity. Appeal allowed. Held that there was no evidence to suggest that the full scope and import of the criteria pursuant to the PSED was properly appreciated.


7. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of D) v Worcestershire CC [2013] EWHC 2490 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; The European Convention on Human Rights 1950, Article 5 Challenge to the decision to introduce a maximum expenditure policy, which would limit spending on supporting a disabled adult in the community to that for equivalent provision in residential care. The claimant challenged the decision on the basis that the Council had failed to comply with the public sector equality duty, as it did not have sufficient information to enable it to have due regard to the equality duty and had not made clear the consequences of the policy during the consultation stage. It was submitted that the Council did not have a proper understanding of the possible detriment to disabled people, and therefore failed to properly consider how this might be mitigated. Finally, it was submitted that the Council did not consider from where else these savings might be made. Application dismissed. The Council had upheld its duty under section 149 of the Equality Act, as it had commissioned an Equality Impact Assessment Council and set up a Working Group to oversee and contribute to the EIA, which met a number times. The requirement of the equality duty were considered at each meeting, in particular concerning equality of opportunity for disabled people. 'Due regard' requires the court to ensure that there has been a "proper and conscientious focus on the statutory criteria." If this requirement is satisfied, the court cannot interfere with the decision on the basis that it would have given greater weight to the equality considerations than the decision-maker.


8. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (MA and Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 2213 (QB) 

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; The European Convention on Human Rights Judicial Review challenges made by disabled claimants against the proposed "bedroom tax". The disabled claimants challenged the decision on the basis that they had accessed that due to reasons of their disability, or their children's disability, they were unable to share rooms so believed they should be entitled to extra rooms without being subject to the "bedroom tax". The claimants submitted that the "bedroom tax" was discriminatory as they will have a far greater devestating impact on disabled people than non-disabled people and also violated the claimant's human rights. Claim dismissed. Ruled that the reform was not in breach of fundamental human rights.


9. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement):R (On the Application of Buckley and others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 512 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149.

Challenge to Council Tax benefit changes, whereby residents who previously received 100% exemption would be required to pay 23% of their Council Tax liability. The claimants submitted that the Defendant had failed to have due regard to the impact of the proposals on those with "protected characteristics" such as children and disabled people as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. It was further submitted that compliance with the public sector equality duty required the authority to identify the number of children and disabled persons affected by the proposal, analyse the impact on them and consider whether any negative impact could be avoided or mitigated. Claim dismissed. The local authority did have due regard to the impact of the proposals. This was set out in a consultation document, which looked at how protected groups would be affected and recognised that the changes would be more difficult for such residents than others. Extra support was proposed for the most vulnerable, such as those with children or those with disabilities in the form of a hardship fund, and it was considered whether there were alternative means of developing a scheme which had less impact on persons with protected characteristics. The judgment emphasised that the courts should not micro-manage the exercise of the public sector equality duty.

10. Case Name and Refernce (Link to Judgement):R (On the Application of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 233 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision to introduce a cap to housing benefit that could be paid to the level of general inflation, even when inflation in the rental sector was higher. Held, the decision was lawful as the equality duties had been discharged. The claimant, a charity concerned with poverty issues caused by unfairness in the law and the benefits system, submitted that the decision would unfairly disadvantage disabled people, ethnic minorities and children of school age. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, it was submitted that the Secretary of State had failed to give appropriate consideration to the equality impact on these protected groups, and further, that measures to mitigate had not been adequately considered as these potential disadvantages had not been properly identified. Application Dismissed Held, that although the Court was 'not particularly impressed' with the quality of the Equality Impact Assessment, it was adequate to discharge the section 149 duties.

11. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of D) v Manchester City Council [2012] EWHC 17 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) Challenge of a local authority's decision to reduce its budget for adult social care failed as was held in making the decision the local authority had due regard to its disability equality duty. The applicants were both disabled and elderly people receiving social care services from the local authority’s adult services department and claimed the local authority in making the decision had not taken due regard to its disability equality duty as there was no evidence that the local authority had paid any regard to the equality duty and as there had been no equality impact needs assessment conducted which the claimants stated was evidence of the failure to have due regard to their equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The local authority was held to have considered enough what effects the decision would have on disabled people to fulfil the “due regard” requirement and equality duties as had made a contingency fund and guarantees as to how individual’s needs would still be met. The consultation taken was also extensive evidencing that the local authority had had due regard to its equality duties. It was also held that there was no statutory duty requiring that an equality impact needs assessment must be carried out.


12. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Barrett) v Lambeth LBC [2012] EWHC 4557 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to decision of a local authority to withdraw funding to a charity providing services to people with learning difficulties. Was held in making the decision the local authority had breached its equality duties as this decision led to a decision to no longer provide such services. Judicial review of decisions of a local authority concerning funding of a charity providing services to people with learning difficulties was applied for. The decision of the local authority to withdraw funding to the services due to a need to make budget cuts had led to the decision to no longer provide the services and was therefore in breach of the public sector equality duty, even though the local authority had prepared an equality impact assessment for its decision as the cabinet had agreed to the budget cuts without even being aware that the equality impact assessment had been completed. The applicant argued the decisions were unlawful as the local authority failed to discharge their equality duties and had failed to consult. Application for Judicial Review Refused. No regard for the equality duties could be attributed to the local authority, so the decision was unlawful. However, as the decision had been set aside by the local authority the Court so no point in granting relief in respect of it. However, the local authority was not required to consult on the issue as they already knew the services the charity provided and it was up to the local authority as to the scope of consultation taken.


13. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R. (On the Application of JM) v Isle of Wight Council [2012] Eq. L.R. 34

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act, Section 49A(1). Challenge against a decision to close a unit providing short breaks and respite care earlier than planned. The decision was not held to be an irrational one. A parent of a disabled child applied for judicial review of the decision which was made due to the local authority’s budget reductions. The applicant alleged that the decision was in breach of the public sector equality duties in failing to obtain information concerning alternative provision of short breaks care. Application for Judicial Review Refused. Held that the local authority was not obliged to obtain any further information than it had and was not obliged to reassess the needs of the users of the unit. The local authority had gathered sufficient information and gave sufficient consideration to the other facilities’ suitability to be reasonably satisfied that most of the users’ needs could be met there.


14. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of JG) v Lancashire CC [2012] P.T.S.R. D3

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act, Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to make cuts to adult social care services. Application was denied as was held they did not breach their public sector equality duty as as a part of their investigation they undertook a series of consultations about the adverse affects that the decision would have on disabled people. Disabled claimants applied for judicial review to challenge the decisions of a local authority to make cuts to adult social care as the local authority needed to make cuts to its services to save money, on the basis that they claimed the decision was a breach of their equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The decision makers were fully aware that the decision would obviously have an impact on disabled people. However, it was clear the local authority only would apply the decision if only after due regard had been paid to the need to promote equality of opportunity and to take into account a person’s disabilities. The application was refused as the local authority had due regard to their equality duties as they had carried out a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the probable impact on service users. It had also considered how any adverse effects might be mitigated.


15. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of W) v Birmingham City Council [2012] B.L.G.R. 1

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act, Section 49A(1). Challenge against decision of a local authority to reduce its budget for adult social care and restrict its support to only those people with disabilities assessed to be critical and also to change the eligibility criteria for those who could recieve care. The decision was ruled as unlawful due to failing to assess the practical impact on those disabled people not assessed to be critical and as also the local authority failed to have due regard to its disability equality duties. Application for judicial review made of a decision of a local authority to reduce its budget for adult social care and to restrict support to only people with disabilities assessed to be critical and to change the eligibility criteria for those who could receive care. The applicants had claimed the local authority had failed to take due regard to their equality duty and claimed the local authority had failed to consider whether savings could be found in other areas to prevent the need to reduce spending on adult social care. Application for Judicial Review Granted Due regard to the effect the decision would have was not given as there was no attempt at assessing the practical impact the decision would have on those whose condition was not considered "critical". This failure made the decision unlawful.


16.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R (On the Application of Green) v Gloucestershire CC; R. (On the Application of Rowe & Hird) v Somerset CC [2011] EWHC 2687 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149 Challenge of decisions to withdraw funding from library services and reduce opening hours. Decision held to be unlawful due to the local authorities’ failure to comply with their public sector equality duty in failing to undertake a sufficiently thorough information-gathering process. Two local authorities had withdrawn funding from static library service and Gloucestershire had withdrawn its mobile library services (which Somerset reduced). The result of the cuts would mean that some of the libraries would be forced to close entirely unless volunteers ran them. The applicants claimed in making the decision the local authorities had breached their public sector equality duties and failed to properly consult in making the decision. . Application for Judicial Review Granted The decision was ruled as unlawful due to both local authorities failing to comply with their public sector equality duties. The carrying out of equality impact assessments was not enough to evidence that due regard had been given to their equality duties. It had to be borne in mind that the withdrawal of a local library might well indirectly discriminate against people with physical disabilities, women and the elderly, which it was not when the decision was made. Both local authorities were held to have failed to have assessed the needs that its library services had to meet.

17.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Essex CC) v Secretary of State for Education [2012] A.C.D. 93

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1) ; Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries. Was ruled the Secretary of State had failed to consider the impact of the decision on different racial and disabled groups, so had not discharged their equality duty. The decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries, which could be carried forward into the following financial year, was challenged on the basis that the Secretary of State had failed to fulfil his race and disability equality duties in that they had failed to consult properly in certain areas of their decision making and that the criteria used to determine committed funds was irrational. Application for Judicial Review Granted The Secretary of State had not, either personally or by his officials, fully discharged his duties under the Acts by evaluating the impact of the measures on the relevant disadvantaged groups, therefore his decision was quashed. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had no duty to consult about the criteria used to determine committed funds.

18.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Rajput) v Waltham Forest LBC and R (On the Application of Tiller) v East Sussex CC [2012] B.L.G.R. 506

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Appeal against refusal to apply for judicial review of a decision to close a day centre and to change the level of service provided at sheltered housing from 24 hour service to an onsite manager during daytime and off-site services at other times. It was held that the local authority had successfully discharged its equality duties in reaching the decision. The first appellant appealed against a refusal to apply for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to close a day centre. The second appellant appealed against dismissal of his application for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to change the level of service provided at his sheltered housing, which had previously funded a 24-hour non-residential warden service for elderly and disabled residents of the sheltered housing. Both challenges were made on the basis that the local authorities had failed to discharge their equality duties in making the following decisions. Appeal Dismissed. There had been no failure to discharge equality duties as the decision was reached in a context exclusively concerned with the interests of elderly and disabled people. There was an understanding of concerns raised and satisfaction that concerns would be met by the decision.

19.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Rahman) v Birmingham City Council [2011] Eq. L.R. 705.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to a decision to stop funding legal advice services which provided advice to ethnic minorities and disabled people about their legal entitlements. The decision was held to be unlawful as in making the decision the local authority had failed to have due regard to its equality duties. Claimants challenged a local authority's decision to stop funding legal advice services advising ethnic minorities and disabled people of their legal entitlements made to reduce its budget on the basis that they claimed the decision was in breach of their equality duties with respect to race and disability equality. Appeal for Judicial Review Granted. The decision was held to be unlawful as there was no evidence that the decision makers had been aware of their equality duties when making the decision and also the equality impact assessment conducted was defective as only focused on the advantages of the new policy rather than the degree of disadvantage it would cause to existing users of the service.

20.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R (On the Application of Robin Murray & Co) v Lord Chancellor [2011] EWHC 1528 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge of a decision to close a local Magistrates' Court. The decision was ruled to be reasonable and in making the decision the Lord Chancellor had discharged his equality duties. Application for judicial review was made against a decision to close two Magistrates' Courts following a decision in 2010 to close ninety-three Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales. The decision was challenged as being unreasonable and that in making the decision the Lord Chancellor had failed to discharge his equality duties in failing to consider the adverse impact the decision could have on certain groups. Application for Judicial Review Refused Decision maker did have due regard to his equality duties as sufficient evidence to show this due regard was gathered and adequate consultation had taken place. The duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination against disabled people and to consult disabled court users was only necessary to be reviewed if its assessment was Wednesbury unreasonable.

21.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Hajrula) v London Councils [2011] A.C.D. 53

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of a decision to withdraw funding from a support group. The decision was quashed for being unlawful as the local authority in making the decision failed to have due regard to their equality duties. Claimants applied for judicial review when a decision by a local authority to withdraw the group’s funding was made due to a need to make spending cuts. The funding cut was a result of a public spending review requiring the local authority to revise its grant scheme for voluntary organisations in light of the need to make spending cuts. It was argued that in withdrawing funding the local authority did not carry out a thorough equality impact assessment or consider the effects on groups disadvantaged by race, gender or disability.
Application for Judicial Review Granted The local authority had failed to discharge their equality duties and give due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations in the performance of its functions. In this case the duty to have due regard to equality duties was held to be all the higher when making decisions involving vulnerable people.

22. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of McDonald) v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2011] UKSC 33

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) ; European Covention on Human Rights 1950, Article 8 Challenge to a decision to remove a disabled person's overnight carer failed as was held the decision did not violate the applicant's human rights and the local authority had discharged its equality duties. The claimant was a disabled person with limited mobility who had bladder problems requiring her to need help, as she had to urinate several times during the night. The claimant challenged the decision to withdraw the provision of her overnight carer who helped her access a commode as it was decided her needs could be equally met with provision of incontinence pads and absorbent sheets. The decision was challenged on the basis that the claimant felt she was being treated without her dignity and as an incontinent. She claimed the decision to be a violation of her Article 8 rights. Appeal Dismissed. Held, the decision did not violate human rights as was proportionate and in the interests of other service users. The decision only aimed to meet her needs in a more economical manner. It was held that there had been no interference with the claimants Article 8 rights and had not infringed their duty to take into account the needs of disabled people. It was held that the decision was a proportionate one and that it was also one where consideration of whether the local authority had considered its equality duties was irrelevant as the public authority was performing its statutory function to a disabled person.

23. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of RP) v Brent LBC [2011] EWHC 3251 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge against a decision to close a unit providing short breaks and respite care earlier than planned. The decision was not held to be an irrational one. A parent of a disabled child applied for judicial review of the decision which was made due to the local authority’s budget reductions. The applicant alleged that the decision was in breach of the public sector equality duties in failing to obtain information concerning alternative provision of short breaks care. Application for Judicial Review Refused. Held that the local authority was not obliged to obtain any further information than it had and was not obliged to reassess the needs of the users of the unit. The local authority had gathered sufficient information and gave sufficient consideration to the other facilities’ suitability to be reasonably satisfied that most of the users’ needs could be met there.


24. Case Name and Reasoning (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Domb) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2010] A.C.D. 20

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) ; Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1). Challenge to a decision of local authority to charge for its non-residential home care services failed as it was held the local authority did have the required due regard to its equality duties in making its decision. Appeal against refusal to grant judicial review to challenge a local authority’s decision to introduce charges for its non-residential home care services. The appellant believed that the impact assessment taken was perverse in concluding that the charges would generate a positive impact. There were also complaints that the decision of the local authority to re-introduce the notion of charges after initially being withdrawn demonstrated a failure of the local authority to have due regard to its equality duties. Appeal dismissed. There was no evidence that the local authority did not have due regard to its equality duties in substance and form. Careful consultation had been carried out. The failure to make a specific mention of gender and racial equality duties held not to be a serious flaw given the evidence that the decision would have no disproportionate adverse impact on women or different racial groups.


25.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Meany) v Harlow DC [2009] EWHC 559 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). The local authority had not taken enough due regard to equality duties. Challenge to a decision to reduce the grant a local authority paid to welfare advice servives. The application was granted as it was held the local authority had not satisfied the "due regard" requirement to show they had sufficiently considered their equality duties. The claimants applied for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to reduce the grant it paid for welfare advice services by 80 per cent due to the local authority experiencing financial difficulties and needing to make budget cuts. The claimants wanted to challenge the decision on the basis that the local authority failed to have due regard to their equality duties in reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. The local authority did not give enough weight to certain important factors or consider the effect that the decision would have in several areas before the decision was reached.

26.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Boyejo) v Barnet LBC [2009] EWHC 3261 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). challenge of decision to replace resident wardens and staff from sheltered housing schemes with non-residential support. The application was successful as it was held that equality duties were not sufficiently brought to the attention of decision makers and given enough consideration. Applicants challenged the decision to withdraw resident wardens or staff from sheltered housing schemes. The applicants claimed in reaching the decision the local authority failed to take into account their equality duties, particularly the duty to take account of elderly people’s disabilities, even if it involved treating disabled people more favourably than other people. The applicants also claimed the authority failed to consult or involve the residents properly in the decision making process. They also claimed the conclusions of the equality impact assessments were Wednesbury unreasonable. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held there was a failure to bring the equality duties adequately to the attention of decision makers and not adequate regard to the need to take account of people’s disabilities, even if that meant treating them more favourably than other persons. The requirement to consult had been undertaken adequately however. The conclusions reached by the equality impact assessments were held to be Wednesbury unreasonable.

27. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of Brown) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2008] EWHC 3158 (Admin)1506

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1) Challenge of Government's Post Office closure programme failed as held equality duties had been discharged. The decision of the Secretary of State relating to the Government’s post office closure programme was challenged for being in breach of their equality duties under the Disability Discrimination Act for failing to perform or publish any disability impact assessment or carry out an equivalent impact assessment in regards to the impact of the post office closure strategy on disabled people, like on the claimant who relied on their local post office. Application for Judicial Review Refused. The Secretary of State had due regard to their duty and was not required to carry out a formal disability impact assessment when exercising its functions.


28. Case Name and Reference (Link to Judgement): R (On the Application of Chavda) v Harrow LBC [2007] EWHC 3064 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Disability Discrimination Act, Section 49A(1) ; European Convention Human Rights 1950. Challenge of a local authority's decision to restrict its adult care service to those only with critical needs. The decision was held not to address the disability equality duty as there was no evidence that the legal duty and its implications were drawn to the attention of the decision makers who should have been informed. Claimants applied for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to restrict provision of adult care services to only those whose needs were assessed to be critical due to financial constraints on the local authority. The claimants stated that the local authority’s decision-making process failed to take into consideration their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and did not comply with the equality duty. Application for Judicial Review Granted in Part Although an equality impact assessment was conducted it did not give what would be considered due regard to the disability equality duty. It was not enough that the summary report simply stated the decision may come into conflict with the Disability Discrimination Act.


29.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R v North and East Devon Health Authority Ex Parte Coughlan [2001] Q.B. 213

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Covention on Human Rights 1950, Article 8 Challenge to decision of closing a care home in which applicant had been promised would be her home for life. The decision was ruled as being unfair in breaching the applicant's legitmate expectations. An elderly and disabled lady was moved to a purpose built home providing services for the severely disabled, being told that it would be a permanent home for her. When a decision was later made to close the home the applicant applied for judicial review of the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held the decision was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and also a breach of legitimate expectation due to the promise of the local authority that the care home would be a home for life for the applicant. The decision for closure was ruled as being unfair and could not be justified by the overriding public interest to save money.

8. Legal challenges against cuts affecting children and young people

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): Rutherford & Others v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2014] EWHC 1631 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012; The claimants alleged that the Secretary of State unlawfully discriminated against them and their grandson, claiming that the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 should have made provisions to include children within the persons entitled to an extra bedroom for an overnight carer. The claimants were grandparents of a severely disabled child who required a carer to stay at their home two nights a week. The 2012 Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations made provisions for some categories of disabled persons to be exempted from the bedroom criteria but that did include a disabled child needing an overnight carer. The claimants did however receive discretionary housing payments which fully covered the experienced shortfall due to the 2012 Regulations. Application for Judicial Review Dismissed. Although the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 would have been held to be discriminatory if taken in isolation, it was held that the regulations and the DHP scheme had to be taken as a whole. The DHP scheme could be satisfactorily relied upon to cover the shortfall created by the 2012 Regulations when a person with an ascertained need for an additional bedroom would have otherwise been the subject of discrimination on grounds of disability.

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of T & others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 2953 (QB)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; Childcare Act 2006, Section 1, 3(2), 3(3) and 6.

Challenge to decision withdrawing subsidies from 20 independent nurseries in "relatively deprived" areas in Sheffield, which provided funding for the Free Early Learning ('FEL') intitiative and childcare provision. Decision held to be lawful as it was ruled the defendant had discharged their equality duties. Application for judicial review to challenge the decision to remove subsidies for independent nurseries offering childcare for three to four year olds in the face of reduced sums available for discretionary funding. This would result in an immediate cut of 25%, potentially forcing some nurseries to close. There were concerns about the equality implications of the cuts, such as access to childcare amongst deprived families, a reduction of access to childcare for BME communities, and the impact of reduncies on childcare staff, which would disproportionately affect women and BME staff. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, the claimants contended that the defendant failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty pursuant to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and that the support offered to mitigate the effects of the cuts were inadequate to discharge the duty. Application dismissed. Held, that in this case the defendant had had due regard which was appropriate in all the circumstances, although it was noted that a formal Equality Impact Assessment does not preclude the taking of other steps to discharge the public sector equality duty . The defendant had demonstrated "a proper and conscientious focus on the statutory criteria" and the court could not therefore interfere with the decision simply on the grounds that it would have given greater weight to considerations of equality.

3.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R (On the Application of Buckley and others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 512 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149.

Challenge to Council Tax benefit changes, whereby residents who previously received 100% exemption would be required to pay 23% of their Council Tax liability. The claimants submitted that the Defendant had failed to have due regard to the impact of the proposals on those with "protected characteristics" such as children and disabled people as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. It was further submitted that compliance with the public sector equality duty required the authority to identify the number of children and disabled persons affected by the proposal, analyse the impact on them and consider whether any negative impact could be avoided or mitigated. Claim dismissed. The local authority did have due regard to the impact of the proposals. This was set out in a consultation document, which looked at how protected groups would be affected and recognised that the changes would be more difficult for such residents than others. Extra support was proposed for the most vulnerable, such as those with children or those with disabilities in the form of a hardship fund, and it was considered whether there were alternative means of developing a scheme which had less impact on persons with protected characteristics. The judgment emphasised that the courts should not micro-manage the exercise of the public sector equality duty.

4.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R (On the Application of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 233 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision to introduce a cap to housing benefit that could be paid to the level of general inflation, even when inflation in the rental sector was higher. Held, the decision was lawful as the equality duties had been discharged. The claimant, a charity concerned with poverty issues caused by unfairness in the law and the benefits system, submitted that the decision would unfairly disadvantage disabled people, ethnic minorities and children of school age. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, it was submitted that the Secretary of State had failed to give appropriate consideration to the equality impact on these protected groups, and further, that measures to mitigate had not been adequately considered as these potential disadvantages had not been properly identified. Application Dismissed Held, that although the Court was 'not particularly impressed' with the quality of the Equality Impact Assessment, it was adequate to discharge the section 149 duties.

5.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):Hunt v North Somerset Council [2012] Eq. L.R. 951

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision of local authority to reduce its budget for the provision of youth services. It was held that the local authority had given sufficient due regard to its equality duties to satisfy the legislation's requirements. The defendant sought a quashing order in relation to an item on the revenue budget of the local authority relating to the financial provision for youth services, as since 2011 local authorities have all been faced with significant cuts in its allocation of funds. The proposal adopted by the local authority was instead promoting non-council funded activities and transferring responsibility to towns/ parish councils and community groups, or even as a last resort closing youth centres. The decision was challenged for failing to take into account public sector equality duties. Application for Judicial Review Refused. Evidence showed the local authority did have due regard to these matters in reaching their decision. It carried out an equality impact assessment and dealt with in detail the impact that reducing the youth service budget would have to those with protected characteristics in Section 149(7) of the Equality Act 2010, and set out conclusions in considering how to minimise the impact it had on those groups.

6.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Hurley) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2012] A.C.D. 50. (Universities)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
European Convention on Human Rights 1950, Protocol 1. Article 2; The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision of allowing higher education institutes to increase tuition fees to an upper limit of £9,000. The decision was ruled not an infringement upon the right to education in the European Convention on Human Rights. Application for judicial review made to challenge the decision to allow higher education institutes to increase fees. The applicant claimed the decision imposed restrictions on the right to access higher education and breached the right to education under the European Convention of Human Rights and also breached the Convention as the funding arrangement indirectly discriminated against those from lower socio-economic groups. There were also claims that the decision was made in breach of the public sector equality duties in the Equality Act 2010. Application for Judicial Review Refused The application was refused even though there was evidence that the decision would discourage some students from applying to attend higher education institutes. However, the fact that someone did not want to accept a student loan did not justify that the right to higher education was being denied or unjustifiably restricted. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had failed to fully carry out his public sector equality duties before implementing the decision. It was however held not to be an proportionate remedy to quash the decision due to this.

7.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Essex CC) v Secretary of State for Education [2012] A.C.D.93

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1) ; Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries. Was ruled the Secretary of State had failed to consider the impact of the decision on different racial and disabled groups, so had not discharged their equality duty. The decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries, which could be carried forward into the following financial year, was challenged on the basis that the Secretary of State had failed to fulfil his race and disability equality duties in that they had failed to consult properly in certain areas of their decision making and that the criteria used to determine committed funds was irrational. Application for Judicial Review Granted The Secretary of State had not, either personally or by his officials, fully discharged his duties under the Acts by evaluating the impact of the measures on the relevant disadvantaged groups, therefore his decision was quashed. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had no duty to consult about the criteria used to determine committed funds.

8.Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Luton BC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Sandwell MBC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Kent CC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Newham LBC) v Secretary of State for Education, R. (On the Application of Waltham Forest LBC) v Secretary of State for Education. [2011] A.C.D. 43.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149 Challenge of decision to stop school building projects begun in 2005 aiming to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in England. The decision was ruled unlawful as the decision maker had failed to consult the local authorities affected and had failed to discharge their equality duties. A local authority applied for judicial review of a decision to stop school building projects. This programme ended due to a decision of the new Coalition Government that came into power in 2010. The claimants believed the decision was unlawful as it breached their substantive legitimate expectations, the local authority had not been consulted about the decision fully and that the decision maker had failed to discharge his equality duties required under the Equality Act 2010. Application for Judcial Review Granted in Part. The Secretary of State’s decision was ruled unlawful as he had failed to consult the local authorities affected and he had failed to discharge his statutory duties under equality legislation. Neither the papers prepared for Ministers in 2010 nor the decision itself contained any reference to disability, race or gender need or impact. It seemed that no regard was had to the relevant duties at all, let alone rigorous regard required by the Equality Act 2010 and held was necessary in R(on the application of Brown) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to have regard to the impacts of certain practices on different groups.

9. Legal challenges against cuts affecting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people and non-British Citizens

1. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R (on the application of Winder and Others) v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Local Government Finance Act 1992, section 13A (2)(b); Equality Act 2010, section 149; European Convention on Human Rights 1950, protocol one, article 14; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, article 21 and 45. Local authority was held to not lawfully be able to adopt a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme that was restricted only to those who had lived in the borough for two years. After April 2013 the old council tax benefit (CTB) was abolished in favour of a new system, which requires each local authority in England to make a Council Tax Reduction Scheme ("CTR Scheme")Sandwell Council adopted a CTR Scheme that, for working age taxpayers, was restricted to those who have lived in the borough for the previous two years. The claimants contended that that resident requirement of Sandwell’s CTR Scheme is unlawful. Application for Judicial Review Granted. Held, that the Council did not have power to impose CTR scheme’s residence requirement. According to the true construction of section 13A of the 1992 LGFA Act, a Council has no power to define a class by reference to non-financial need criteria. It was also held that the resident requirement was more likely to have a detrimental effect on women and was more likely to restrict the movements of a non-British EU citizen than a British EU citizen and so was in breach of EU law. The council put forward a defence that the restriction of movement was justified but this defence failed due to the lack of evidence put forward supporting the argument that the CTR scheme might have encouraged “benefit tourism”

2. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R (On the Application of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 233 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge to a decision to introduce a cap to housing benefit that could be paid to the level of general inflation, even when inflation in the rental sector was higher. Held, the decision was lawful as the equality duties had been discharged. The claimant, a charity concerned with poverty issues caused by unfairness in the law and the benefits system, submitted that the decision would unfairly disadvantage disabled people, ethnic minorities and children of school age. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, it was submitted that the Secretary of State had failed to give appropriate consideration to the equality impact on these protected groups, and further, that measures to mitigate had not been adequately considered as these potential disadvantages had not been properly identified. Application Dismissed Held, that although the Court was 'not particularly impressed' with the quality of the Equality Impact Assessment, it was adequate to discharge the section 149 duties.

3. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of T & others) v Sheffield CC [2013] EWHC 2953 (QB).

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149; Childcare Act 2006, Section 1, 3(2), 3(3) and 6.

Challenge to decision withdrawing subsidies from 20 independent nurseries in "relatively deprived" areas in Sheffield, which provided funding for the Free Early Learning ('FEL') intitiative and childcare provision. Decision held to be lawful as it was ruled the defendant had discharged their equality duties. Application for judicial review to challenge the decision to remove subsidies for independent nurseries offering childcare for three to four year olds in the face of reduced sums available for discretionary funding. This would result in an immediate cut of 25%, potentially forcing some nurseries to close. There were concerns about the equality implications of the cuts, such as access to childcare amongst deprived families, a reduction of access to childcare for BME communities, and the impact of reduncies on childcare staff, which would disproportionately affect women and BME staff. Although an Equality Impact Assessment was undertaken, the claimants contended that the defendant failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty pursuant to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and that the support offered to mitigate the effects of the cuts were inadequate to discharge the duty. Application dismissed. Held, that in this case the defendant had had due regard which was appropriate in all the circumstances, although it was noted that a formal Equality Impact Assessment does not preclude the taking of other steps to discharge the public sector equality duty . The defendant had demonstrated "a proper and conscientious focus on the statutory criteria" and the court could not therefore interfere with the decision simply on the grounds that it would have given greater weight to considerations of equality.

4. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Essex CC) v Secretary of State for Education [2012] A.C.D. 93

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoing
Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1) ; Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 Section 49A(1). Challenge to decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries. Was ruled the Secretary of State had failed to consider the impact of the decision on different racial and disabled groups, so had not discharged their equality duty. The decision to reduce the amount of annual funding for childcare, quality and access projects, concerning the building of schools and nurseries, which could be carried forward into the following financial year, was challenged on the basis that the Secretary of State had failed to fulfil his race and disability equality duties in that they had failed to consult properly in certain areas of their decision making and that the criteria used to determine committed funds was irrational. Application for Judicial Review Granted The Secretary of State had not, either personally or by his officials, fully discharged his duties under the Acts by evaluating the impact of the measures on the relevant disadvantaged groups, therefore his decision was quashed. However, it was held that the Secretary of State had no duty to consult about the criteria used to determine committed funds.

5. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Rahman) v Birmingham City Council [2011] Eq. L.R. 705.

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). . Challenge to a decision to stop funding legal advice services which provided advice to ethnic minorities and disabled people about their legal entitlements. The decision was held to be unlawful as in making the decision the local authority had failed to have due regard to its equality duties. Claimants challenged a local authority's decision to stop funding legal advice services advising ethnic minorities and disabled people of their legal entitlements made to reduce its budget on the basis that they claimed the decision was in breach of their equality duties with respect to race and disability equality. Appeal for Judicial Review Granted. The decision was held to be unlawful as there was no evidence that the decision makers had been aware of their equality duties when making the decision and also the equality impact assessment conducted was defective as only focused on the advantages of the new policy rather than the degree of disadvantage it would cause to existing users of the service

6. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Child Poverty Action Group v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Sumary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Equality Act 2010, Section 149. . Challenge to the Government's proposed changes to the housing benefit scheme to reduce the maximum size property available for benefit from five bedrooms to four and to introduce a cap on weekly rates of local housing allowance. This challenge was rejected as the decision was held to be a reasonable one. The CPAG was concerned the changes would make areas of Central London no longer accessible for housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector. It was also concerned that changes would disproportionality affect black and minority ethnic groups and lone parents. The applicants held the introduction of weekly caps were outside the Secretary of State’s powers conferred to him by the Housing Act 1996 and therefore the decision was made unlawfully Also, in making the changes the group claimed the Secretary of State had failed to properly fulfil his public sector equality duties as when conducting equality impact assessments they claimed he had failed to make use of relevant readily available data. Application for Judicial Review Refused The Secretary of State had due regard to his equality duties as two equality impact assessments had been carried out and he was well aware of his equality duties and had paid specific regard to them. In conducting the impact assessments proper regard had been taken to relevant data and the assessments contained enough information to discharge his equality duties.

7. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Hajrula) v London Councils [2011] A.C.D. 53

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
Equality Act 2010, Section 149. Challenge of a decision to withdraw funding from a support group. The decision was quashed for being unlawful as the local authority in making the decision failed to have due regard to their equality duties. Claimants applied for judicial review when a decision by a local authority to withdraw the group’s funding was made due to a need to make spending cuts. The funding cut was a result of a public spending review requiring the local authority to revise its grant scheme for voluntary organisations in light of the need to make spending cuts. It was argued that in withdrawing funding the local authority did not carry out a thorough equality impact assessment or consider the effects on groups disadvantaged by race, gender or disability. Application for Judicial Review Granted The local authority had failed to discharge their equality duties and give due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations in the performance of its functions. In this case the duty to have due regard to equality duties was held to be all the higher when making decisions involving vulnerable people.

8. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement):R. (On the Application of Meany) v Harlow DC [2009] EWHC 559 (Admin)

Legislation Used in Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 76A ; The Race Relations Act 1976, Section 71(1); the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 49A(1). Challenge to a decision to reduce the grant a local authority paid to welfare advice servives. The application was granted as it was held the local authority had not satisfied the "due regard" requirement to show they had sufficiently considered their equality duties. The claimants applied for judicial review of a decision of a local authority to reduce the grant it paid for welfare advice services by 80 per cent due to the local authority experiencing financial difficulties and needing to make budget cuts. The claimants wanted to challenge the decision on the basis that the local authority failed to have due regard to their equality duties in reaching the decision. Application for Judicial Review Granted. The local authority had not taken enough due regard to equality duties. The local authority did not give enough weight to certain important factors or consider the effect that the decision would have in several areas before the decision was reached.

9. Case Name and Reference (Link to judgement): R. (On the Application of Kaur) v Ealing LBC [2008] EWHC 2062 (Admin)

Legislation Used for Claim Summary Case Background Decision Reasoning
The Race Relations Act 1976 Section 71(1) Challenge to a local authority's decision that a provider of services exclusively to ethnic minority residents experiencing domestic violence should instead be undertaken by a single provider throughout the borough, providing services to all irrespective of ethnic origin. Application for judicial review was granted as was held the local authority had acted unlawfully in reaching a decision before a full equality impact assessment had been carried out. The local authority’s proposed change of funding threatened the survival of a service aimed at providing services to ethnic minority residents experiencing domestic violence, by instead deciding to award funds to a provider of services to all individuals experiencing domestic violence irrespective of their ethnic origin. Concerns were expressed that ceasing to fund the service aimed at helping women from ethnic minorities would have a disproportionate impact on black and ethnic minority women and claimed no racial equality impact assessment had been conducted.

Application for Judicial Review Granted

Was held the local authority had acted unlawfully in reaching its decision before a full racial equality impact assessment had been undertaken.