Brewster, Re Application for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland): SC 8 Feb 2017

Survivor of unmarried partner entitled to pension

The claimant appealed against the rejection of her claim to the survivor’s pension after the death of her longstanding partner, even though they had not been married. The rules said that she had to have been nominated by her partner, but he had not done this.
Held: Her appeal was dismissed. The state was to secure for her equal enjoyment of article 14 rights without discrimination for status without some objective justification for any denial of the associate right. This required more than just a proactive role, and the state was to respect a Convention right. The justification required an objective assessment and a court could not substitute its own view, and more so where the decision-maker was the legislature, that would normally be respected unless demonstrably unfounded. If the assessment was not directly by the legislature, a court might be less reluctant to interfere, and even more so when the claimed justification had not been present when the decision was made.
The weight given to the claimant’s self-chosen status rather than from an immutable characteristic, would depend on the context and the particular case

Lady Hale (Deputy President), Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed, Lord Dyson
[2017] UKSC 8, [2017] WLR(D) 88, [2017] 1 WLR 519, [2017] ICR 434, [2017] 2 All ER 1001, [2017] IRLR 366, UKSC 2014/0180
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary, SC Summary Video
Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership
and Contributions) Regulations 2009
, European Convention on Human Rights 14
Northern Ireland
At First InstanceBrewster, Re Judicial Review QBNI 9-Nov-2012
The applicant challenged the decision of the respondent Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (‘NILGOSC’) made on 1 July 2011, by which it declined to pay a survivor’s pension to the applicant following the death of . .
Appeal fromBrewster v Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee CANI 1-Oct-2013
Appeal by the Committee and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland from a decision allowing the respondent’s application for judicial review of a decision by the Superannuation Committee not to pay a survivor’s pension to the . .
CitedMarckx v Belgium ECHR 13-Jun-1979
Recognition of illegitimate children
The complaint related to the manner in which parents were required to adopt their own illegitimate child in order to increase his rights. Under Belgian law, no legal bond between an unmarried mother and her child results from the mere fact of birth. . .
CitedKopecky v Slovakia ECHR 28-Sep-2004
(Grand Chamber) The court said of the practice of the Convention institutions under A1 P1: ‘An applicant can allege a violation of article 1 of Protocol 1 only in so far as the impugned decisions related to his ‘possessions’ within the meaning of . .
CitedBegum (otherwise SB), Regina (on the Application of) v Denbigh High School HL 22-Mar-2006
The student, a Muslim wished to wear a full Islamic dress, the jilbab, but this was not consistent with the school’s uniform policy. She complained that this interfered with her right to express her religion.
Held: The school’s appeal . .
CitedIn re P and Others, (Adoption: Unmarried couple) (Northern Ireland); In re G HL 18-Jun-2008
The applicants complained that as an unmarried couple they had been excluded from consideration as adopters.
Held: Northern Ireland legislation had not moved in the same way as it had for other jurisdictions within the UK. The greater . .
CitedSwift v Secretary of State for Justice CA 18-Mar-2013
The claimant appealed against refusal of a declaration that the 1976 Act infringed her human rights. She had been cohabiting for six months, when her partner was killed in an accident at work for which a third party was liable. Because she had not . .
CitedStec and Others v United Kingdom ECHR 12-Apr-2006
(Grand Chamber) The claimants said that differences between the sexes in the payment of reduced earning allowances and retirement allowances were sex discrimination.
Held: The differences were not infringing sex discrimination. The differences . .
CitedTigere, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills SC 29-Jul-2015
After increasing university fees, the student loan system was part funded by the government. They introduced limits to the availability of such loans, and a student must have been lawfully ordinarily resident in the UK for three years before the day . .
CitedHumphreys v Revenue and Customs SC 16-May-2012
Separated parents shared the care of their child. The father complained that all the Child Tax Credit was given to the mother.
Held: The appeal failed. Although the rule does happen to be indirectly discriminatory against fathers, the . .
CitedBelfast City Council v Miss Behavin’ Ltd HL 25-Apr-2007
Belfast had failed to license sex shops. The company sought review of the decision not to grant a licence.
Held: The council’s appeal succeeded. The refusal was not a denial of the company’s human rights: ‘If article 10 and article 1 of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Financial Services, Family, Discrimination, Human Rights

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.573900