Hooper and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: CA 18 Jun 2003

The appellants were widowers whose wives had died at a time when the benefits a widow would have received were denied to widowers. The legislation had since changed but they variously sought compensation for the unpaid sums.
Held: The appeal succeeded. By 1995 discrimination as to pensions was no longer supportable. And those appellants pursuing that point succeeded. The Human Rights Act required the court to read statute to be compliant. A statute purporting to justify an infringement could not be relied upon as a defence. Those individuals who had taken their cases to the Human Rights Court had been paid on a friendly settlment. Such would not oblige the respondent to make arrangements for others. This was well recognised as a motive for such settlements. However the Secretary had power to make the payments, and in failing to pay he again infringed the claimants’ 6.1 rights, but it was not irrational not to make extra statutory payments for those who had not claimed. It was necessary to make a payment in damages to achieve just satisfaction, and damages were awarded.


Lord Justice Mantell Lord Justice Rix Lord Phillips Of Worth Matravers, Mr


[2002] EWCA Civ 813, Times 28-Jun-2003, Gazette 17-Jul-2003, [2003] 1 WLR 2623, 14 BHRC 626, [2003] 2 FCR 504, [2003] UKHRR 1268, [2003] 3 All ER 673




Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 36 37 38, Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 262(1), European Convention on Human Rights 14 First Prot Art1


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Lambert HL 5-Jul-2001
Restraint on Interference with Burden of Proof
The defendant had been convicted for possessing drugs found on him in a bag when he was arrested. He denied knowing of them. He was convicted having failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that he had not known of the drugs. The case was . .
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 . .
CitedCornwell v United Kingdom; Leary v United Kingdom ECHR 25-Apr-2000
Mr Cornwell’s wife had died on 24 October 1989, leaving a dependent child. On 7 February 1997 his representative had ‘contacted’ the Benefits Agency to enquire about widow’s benefits. On 14 February 1997 the Agency ‘answered’ to say that legislation . .
CitedAbdulaziz etc v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-1985
Three women, all lawfully settled in the UK, had married third-country nationals but, at first, the Secretary of State had refused permission for their husbands to remain with them, or join them, in the UK.
Held: The refusals of permission had . .
CitedMellacher and Others v Austria ECHR 19-Dec-1989
The case concerned restrictions on the rent that a property owner could charge. The restrictions were applied to existing leases. It was said that the restrictions brought into play the second paragraph of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the . .
Appeal fromHooper and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Admn 14-Feb-2002
The claimants alleged that the way they were treated as widowers under the benefits subjected them to discrimination.
Held: The continued payment of widow’s pension was objectively justified. . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Amicus etc) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Admn 26-Apr-2004
The claimants sought a declaration that part of the Regulations were invalid, and an infringement of their human rights. The Regulations sought to exempt church schools from an obligation not to discriminate against homosexual teachers.
Held: . .
Appeal fromHooper 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Discrimination

Updated: 25 November 2022; Ref: scu.183704