Francis v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: CA 10 Nov 2005

The applicant had sought payment of a ‘Sure Start’ maternity grant. She had obtained a residence order in respect of her sister’s baby daughter who had been taken into care. She said that a payment would have been made to the partner of a mother or an adopter, and that she should be similarly entitled.
Held: The regulations were discriminatory, and a declaration was granted. ‘we are bound to apply the test suggested by the House of Lords and to examine whether the ground for different treatment in this case amounts to a status in the sense of a personal characteristic. ‘ and ‘administrative convenience cannot in itself be a sufficient justification for discrimination without some other justification as to why those in an analogous or relevantly similar situation are being excluded.’ Where the Secretary of State relies on administrative convenience and ‘bright line’ rules he must still show some ‘serious adverse consequences’ to justify the discrimination.


Auld LJ, Moore-Bick LJ, Sir Peter Gibson


[2005] EWCA Civ 1303, Times 17-Nov-2005, [2006] 1 WLR 3202




European Convention on Human Rights 14, Social Fund Maternity and Funeral Expenses (General) Regulations 1987 5


England and Wales


CitedCarson, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Reynolds v Same HL 26-May-2005
One claimant said that as a foreign resident pensioner, she had been excluded from the annual uprating of state retirement pension, and that this was an infringement of her human rights. Another complained at the lower levels of job-seeker’s . .
CitedHooper and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions HL 5-May-2005
Widowers claimed that, in denying them benefits which would have been payable to widows, the Secretary of State had acted incompatibly with their rights under article 14 read with article 1 of Protocol 1 and article 8 of the ECHR.
Held: The . .
CitedKjeldsen, Busk, Madsen and Peddersen v Denmark ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The claimants challenged the provision of compulsory sex education in state primary schools.
Held: The parents’ philosophical and religious objections to sex education in state schools was rejected on the ground that they could send their . .
CitedThe National and Provincial Building Society, The Leeds Permanent Building Society And The Yorkshire Building Society v The United Kingdom ECHR 23-Oct-1997
There was no breach of human rights by the retrospective removal of a right to reclaim overpaid tax. Such a decision was within the general power of a government to impose and collect tax. Not every difference in treatment will amount to a violation . .
CitedPetrovic v Austria ECHR 27-Mar-1998
The applicant was refused a grant of parental leave allowance in 1989. At that time parental leave allowance was available only to mothers. The applicant complained that this violated article 14 taken together with article 8.
Held: The . .
CitedS, Regina (on Application of) v South Yorkshire Police; Regina v Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police ex parte Marper HL 22-Jul-2004
Police Retention of Suspects DNA and Fingerprints
The claimants complained that their fingerprints and DNA records taken on arrest had been retained after discharge before trial, saying the retention of the samples infringed their right to private life.
Held: The parts of DNA used for testing . .
CitedEngel And Others v The Netherlands (1) ECHR 8-Jun-1976
The court was asked whether proceedings in a military court against soldiers for disciplinary offences involved criminal charges within the meaning of Article 6(1): ‘In this connection, it is first necessary to know whether the provision(s) defining . .
CitedRegina v A (Complainant’s Sexual History) (No 2) HL 17-May-2001
The fact of previous consensual sex between complainant and defendant could be relevant in a trial of rape, and a refusal to allow such evidence could amount to a denial of a fair trial to a defendant. Accordingly, where the evidence was so relevant . .

Cited by:

CitedStewart v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 29-Jul-2011
The court considered the arrangements for providing public support for the costs of funerals. The claimant’s son had died whilst she was in prison. Assistance had been refused because, as a prisoner, she was not receiving benefits. She complained . .
CitedRR v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 13-Nov-2019
Housing benefit regulations had been found unlawful and were amended. The Court now considered what payments should have been made before the amendments came into effect.
Held: The appeal was allowed, and RR’s housing benefit entitlement is to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Benefits, European, Discrimination, Human Rights

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.234694