Discrimination in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • James v Eastleigh Borough Council
    • House of Lords
    • 14 Jun 1990

    This is because, as I see it, cases of direct discrimination under section 1(1)( a) can be considered by asking the simple question: would the complainant have received the same treatment from the defendant but for his or her sex?

  • Madarassy v Nomura International Plc
    • Court of Appeal
    • 26 Jan 2007

    The bare facts of a difference in status and a difference in treatment only indicate a possibility of discrimination. They are not, without more, sufficient material from which a tribunal “could conclude” that, on the balance of probabilities, the respondent had committed an unlawful act of discrimination.

  • R (Carson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
    • House of Lords
    • 26 May 2005

    There may be such an obvious, relevant difference between the claimant and those with whom he seeks to compare himself that their situations cannot be regarded as analogous. Then the court's scrutiny may best be directed at considering whether the differentiation has a legitimate aim and whether the means chosen to achieve the aim is appropriate and not disproportionate in its adverse impact.

  • R v Birmingham City Council, ex parte Equal Opportunities Commission
    • House of Lords
    • 17 Feb 1992

    There is discrimination under the statute if there is less favourable treatment on the ground of sex, in other words if the relevant girl or girls would have received the same treatment as the boys but for their sex.

  • Nagarajan v London Regional Transport
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Jul 1999

    Thus, in every case it is necessary to enquire why the complainant received less favourable treatment. Or was it for some other reason, for instance, because the complainant was not so well qualified for the job? Save in obvious cases, answering the crucial question will call for some consideration of the mental processes of the alleged discriminator. Treatment, favourable or unfavourable, is a consequence which follows from a decision.

    The crucial question just mentioned is to be distinguished sharply from a second and different question: if the discriminator treated the complainant less favourably on racial grounds, why did he do so? Racial discrimination is not negatived by the discriminator's motive or intention or reason or purpose (the words are interchangeable in this context) in treating another person less favourably on racial grounds.

  • Re G (Adoption: Unmarried couple); Re P and Others (adoption: unmarried couple)
    • House of Lords
    • 18 Jun 2008

    Cases about discrimination in an area of social policy, which is what this case is, will always be appropriate for judicial scrutiny. The constitutional responsibility in this area of our law resides with the courts. The more contentious the issue is, the greater the risk is that some people will be discriminated against in ways that engage their Convention rights. It is with them that the ultimate safeguard against discrimination rests.

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