SG and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: SC 18 Mar 2015

The court was asked whether it was lawful for the Secretary of State to make subordinate legislation imposing a cap on the amount of welfare benefits which can be received by claimants in non-working households, equivalent to the net median earnings of working households. The challenge was under the 1998 Act on the basis that it discriminated unjustifiably between men and women, contrary to article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the ECHR’) read with article 1 of Protocol No 1 to the ECHR (‘A1P1’).
Held: (Baroness Hale and Lord Kerr dissenting) The appeal failed. Although the legislation would disproportionately affect women, since they formed the majority of single parent households, the difference was not such as to be unjustifiable.

Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Kerr, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes
UKSC 2014/0079, [2015] UKSC 16, [2015] 1 WLR 1449, [2015] WLR(D) 159, [2015] PTSR 471, [2015] HLR 21, [2015] HRLR 5, [2015] 4 All ER 939, (2015) 18 CCL Rep 215
SC, SC Summary, Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD
Human Rights Act 1998, Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012, Welfare Reform Act 2012, European Convention on Human Rights 14 A1P1, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
England and Wales
Citing:
At first instanceJS and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Others QBD 5-Nov-2013
The claimants challenged the benefits cap introduced under the 2012 Act, saying that it was discriminatory, affecting more women than men. Mr Eadie QC submitted on behalf of the Secretary of State that, as ‘an international instrument with no . .
Appeal fromSG and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Others CA 21-Feb-2014
The claimants challenged the manner of implementation of a benefits cap under the 2012 Act, sayig that it was discriminatory. . .
CitedThlimmenos v Greece ECHR 6-Apr-2000
(Grand Chamber) The application of a rule that a felon could not become a chartered accountant infringed the rights under article 14, taken in conjunction with article 9, of a pacifist convicted of the felony of refusing to perform military service. . .
CitedCarson and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 4-Nov-2008
(Grand Chamber) Pensioners who had moved abroad complained that they had been excluded from the index-linked uprating of pensions given to pensioners living in England.
Held: This was not an infringement of their human rights. Differences in . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Pretty) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Nov-2001
The applicant was terminally ill, and entirely dependent upon her husband for care. She foresaw a time when she would wish to take her own life, but would not be able to do so without the active assistance of her husband. She sought a proleptic . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedSidabras And Dziautas v Lithuania ECHR 27-Jul-2004
Former KGB officers complained that they were banned, not only from public sector employment, but also from many private sector posts. This ‘affected [their] ability to develop relationships with the outside world to a very significant degree, and . .
CitedHoogendijk v The Netherlands ECHR 6-Jan-2005
Mrs Hoogendijk suffered from a high degree of disablement. She lost benefits to which she had been entitled as a consequence of amendments which the Dutch government introduced to remove the discriminatory exclusion of married women from the . .
CitedDH v Czech Republic ECHR 13-Nov-2007
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that their children had been moved to special schools which did not reflect their needs from ordinary schools without them being consulted.
Held: The Court noted that, at the relevant time, the . .
CitedAndrejeva v Latvia ECHR 18-Feb-2009
(Grand Chamber) The concept of jurisdiction for the purposes of article 1 reflects that term’s meaning in public international law and is closely linked to the international responsibility of the state concerned. . .
CitedBest, Regina (on The Application of) v Oxford City Council Admn 25-Mar-2009
Local authorities have a legal duty to provide accommodation which was suitable for homeless applicants, and suitability included affordability. . .
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 . .
CitedDemir And Baykara v Turkey ECHR 12-Nov-2008
Civil servants formed a trade union which entered into collective negotiation with a local authority resulting in an agreement. Union members then sued the authority for failing to fulfil the agreement. The local Court found in favour of the . .
CitedZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 1-Feb-2011
The respondent had arrived and claimed asylum. Three claims were rejected, two of which were fraudulent. She had two children by a UK citizen, and if deported the result would be (the father being unsuitable) that the children would have to return . .
CitedBurnip v Birmingham City Council and Another CA 15-May-2012
The court considered an allegation of discrimination in the application of housing benefit for a disabled person.
Held: The claimants had established a prima facie case of discrimination under Article 14 of the ECHR, and that the Secretary of . .
CitedO’Brien v Ministry of Justice SC 6-Feb-2013
The appellant, a part time recorder challenged his exclusion from pension arrangements.
Held: The appeal was allowed. No objective justification has been shown for departing from the basic principle of remunerating part-timers pro rata . .
CitedV v The United Kingdom; T v The United Kingdom ECHR 16-Dec-1999
The claimant challenged to the power of the Secretary of State to set a tariff where the sentence was imposed pursuant to section 53(1). The setting of the tariff was found to be a sentencing exercise which failed to comply with Article 6(1) of the . .
CitedUner v The Netherlands ECHR 18-Oct-2006
(Grand Chamber) The court considered the application of article 8 considerations in extradition and similar proceedings, and said: ‘the best interests and well-being of the children, in particular the seriousness of the difficulties which any . .
CitedX and Others v Austria (Summary) ECHR 19-Feb-2013
(Grand Chamber) Article 14
Discrimination
Impossibility of second-parent adoption in same-sex couple:
violation
Facts – The first and third applicants are two women living in a stable homosexual relationship. The second . .
CitedJH Rayner (Mincing Lane) Ltd v Department of Trade and Industry HL 1989
An undisclosed principal will not be permitted to claim to be party to a contract if this is contrary to the terms of the contract itself. Thus the provision in the standard form B contract of the London Metal Exchange ‘this contract is made between . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State For The Home Department, Ex Parte Launder HL 13-Mar-1997
The question arose as to whether or not the decision of the Secretary of State to extradite the applicant to Hong Kong would have amounted to a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Although the Convention was not at that time in force . .
CitedCorner House Research and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v The Serious Fraud Office HL 30-Jul-2008
SFO Director’s decisions reviewable
The director succeeded on his appeal against an order declaring unlawful his decision to discontinue investigations into allegations of bribery. The Attorney-General had supervisory duties as to the exercise of the duties by the Director. It had . .
CitedBank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 2) SC 19-Jun-2013
The bank challenged measures taken by HM Treasury to restrict access to the United Kingdom’s financial markets by a major Iranian commercial bank, Bank Mellat, on the account of its alleged connection with Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic . .
CitedT and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
T and JB, asserted that the reference in certificates issued by the state to cautions given to them violated their right to respect for their private life under article 8 of the Convention. T further claims that the obligation cast upon him to . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Education and Employment and others ex parte Williamson and others HL 24-Feb-2005
The appellants were teachers in Christian schools who said that the blanket ban on corporal punishment interfered with their religious freedom. They saw moderate physical discipline as an essential part of educating children in a Christian manner. . .
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 . .
CitedCountryside Alliance and others, Regina (on the Application of) v Attorney General and Another HL 28-Nov-2007
The appellants said that the 2004 Act infringed their rights under articles 8 11 and 14 and Art 1 of protocol 1.
Held: Article 8 protected the right to private and family life. Its purpose was to protect individuals from unjustified intrusion . .
CitedAnimal Defenders International, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport HL 12-Mar-2008
The applicant, a non-profit company who campaigned against animal cruelty, sought a declaration of incompatibility for section 321(2) of the 2003 Act, which prevented adverts with political purposes, as an unjustified restraint on the right of . .
CitedPonomaryov and Others v Bulgaria ECHR 21-Jun-2011
Two boys were born to Russian parents in what became Kazakhstan. After their parents’ divorce, their mother married a Bulgarian and they all came to live in Bulgaria. The mother was granted a permanent residence permit and the boys were entitled to . .
CitedHH v Deputy Prosecutor of The Italian Republic, Genoa SC 20-Jun-2012
In each case the defendant sought to resist European Extradition Warrants saying that an order would be a disporportionate interference in their human right to family life. The Court asked whether its approach as set out in Norris, had to be amended . .
CitedRegina v Lyons, Parnes, Ronson, Saunders HL 15-Nov-2002
The defendants had been convicted on evidence obtained from them by inspectors with statutory powers to require answers on pain of conviction. Subsequently the law changed to find such activity an infringement of a defendant’s human rights.
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 . .
CitedBurnip v Birmingham City Council and Another CA 15-May-2012
The court considered an allegation of discrimination in the application of housing benefit for a disabled person.
Held: The claimants had established a prima facie case of discrimination under Article 14 of the ECHR, and that the Secretary of . .
CitedCouncil of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service HL 22-Nov-1984
Exercise of Prerogative Power is Reviewable
The House considered an executive decision made pursuant to powers conferred by a prerogative order. The Minister had ordered employees at GCHQ not to be members of trades unions.
Held: The exercise of a prerogative power of a public nature . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Brind HL 7-Feb-1991
The Home Secretary had issued directives to the BBC and IBA prohibiting the broadcasting of speech by representatives of proscribed terrorist organisations. The applicant journalists challenged the legality of the directives on the ground that they . .
CitedRegina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
CitedJordan v United Kingdom; McKerr v United Kingdom; similar ECHR 4-May-2001
Proper Investigation of Deaths with Army or Police
Claims were made as regards deaths of alleged terrorists in clashes with the UK armed forces and police. In some cases the investigations necessary to justify the taking of life had been inadequate. Statements made to the inquiry as to the . .
CitedAbbasi and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office and others CA 10-Sep-2002
The appellant was a British citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay by US authorities. He was captured by American forces in Afghanistan. He claimed that his detention was a violation of international law and that, under the United Kingdom Domestic Law, . .
CitedStephen Jordan (No 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Dec-2002
jordan_uk2ECHR2002
The applicant was a soldier who had been court marshalled for misuse of travel warrants. He wished to use in his defence his recent epilepsy. There was some delay while medical reports were obtained, and subsequently when the new legal system was . .
CitedIn re McKerr (Northern Ireland) HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had been shot by soldiers of the British Army whilst in a car in Northern Ireland. The car was alleged to have ‘run’ a checkpoint. The claimants said the investigation, now 20 years ago, had been inadequate. The claim was brought under . .
CitedPonomaryov and Others v Bulgaria ECHR 21-Jun-2011
Two boys were born to Russian parents in what became Kazakhstan. After their parents’ divorce, their mother married a Bulgarian and they all came to live in Bulgaria. The mother was granted a permanent residence permit and the boys were entitled to . .
CitedDH v Czech Repiublic ECHR 7-Feb-2006
The claimants, 18 Roma children complained, saying that they had automatically been placed in schools for children with special needs by virtue of their racial origin. . .
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 . .
CitedNeulinger And Shuruk v Switzerland ECHR 6-Jul-2010
(Grand Chamber) The Swiss Court had rejected the claimant mother’s claim, under article 13b of the Hague Convention, that there was a grave risk that returning the child to Israel would lead to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place him . .

Cited by:
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Benefits, Discrimination, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.544350