Bain v Bowles and Others

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date19 April 1991

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Dillon, Lord Justice Mann and Lord Justice Beldam

Bain
and
Bowles and Others

Sex discrimination - advertisement - refusal to publish

Sex bias in refusing advertisement

In refusing, pursuant to a long-established policy, to publish an advertisement by a man resident in Italy for a cook and housekeeper to work at his residence, the publishers of a magazine were guilty of unlawful sexual discrimination contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

The Court of Appeal so held in allowing an appeal by the plaintiff, Mr N M Bain, from the dismissal by Judge Harris, QC, on June 4, 1990 in Westminster County Court of the plaintiff's claim against the defendants, Mrs M M Bowles, Mr T G A Bowles and Ms J M Budworth, proprietors of The Lady, and The Lady (a Firm), for, inter alia, a declaration in respect of an alleged breach of the 1975 Act.

Mr Anthony Scrivener, QC and Mr Michael Lazarus for the plaintiff; Mr Frederic Reynold, QC and Mr Harry Trusted for the defendants.

LORD JUSTICE DILLON said that the plaintiff asked the defendants to publish the following advertisement: "Tuscany Scottish gentleman seeks referenced working housekeeper/cook for non-isolated country home in heart lovely Chianti between Florence/Sienna. Own three-roomed apartment. Write giving telephone number to" an address in Chianti.

The defendants wrote back refusing the advertisement for the reason that "we only publish advertisements offering domestic positions outside the United Kingdom when there is a lady of the household present where the successful applicant will reside and carry out their duties and that lady should be the employer."

The plaintiff brought proceedings claiming, inter alia, that he had been unlawfully sexually discriminated against contrary to sections 1(1)(a) and 29 of the 1975 Act.

Section 1 provided: "(1) A person discriminates against a woman in any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Act if (a) on the ground of her sex he treats her less favourably than he treats or would treat a man…"

By section 2, the provisions relating to sex discrimination against women were to be read as applying, with the appropriate modifications, equally to the treatment of men. Section 29 was concerned with discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities or services.

The defendants explained that they had had trouble in the past when they had advertised domestic positions and young girls accepting the...

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6 cases
  • Naeem v The Secretary of State for Justice
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 9 December 2015
    ...like must be compared with like (cf. the observation to the same effect by Dillon LJ about the predecessor provision in the 1975 Act in Bain v Bowles [1991] IRLR 356, at para. 16 (p. 358)). But I do not, with respect, think that section 23 affords the best route to the right result. It tend......
  • European Roma Rights v Immigration Officer
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 May 2003
    ...authorities principally relied upon by the appellants under this head are R -v—CRE (ex parte Westminster City Council) [1985] ICR 827, Bain -v—Bowles [1991] IRLR 357 and James -v—Eastleigh Borough Council [1992] AC 73 In the CRE case the council had dismissed a black road sweeper to whose ......
  • Shamoon v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 27 February 2003
    ...material respects the same. This self-evident proposition is spelled out in section 5(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act: see Dillon LJ in Bain v Bowles [1991] IRLR 356, 357. As originally enacted (the later amendments are not relevant for present purposes), section 5(3) provides: "A co......
  • Smith v Gardner Merchant Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 14 July 1998
    ...would be wholly inconsistent with the ruling of the House of Lords in James v Eastleigh Borough Council:" per Dillon L.J. in Bain v Bowles [1991] IRLR 356, 358. (2) As the language of Section 1(1)(a) makes clear, the comparison can be made with the way the employer has in fact treated......
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