Lord Chancellor v Coker

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date22 Nov 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] EWCA Civ 1784,[2001] EWCA Civ 1756

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Schiemann and Lord Justice Mummery

Lord Chancellor and Another
Coker and Another

Discrimination - sex - race - none advertising of post - criteria that applicant must be personally known prior to application valid - indirect discrimination - Sex Discrimination Act 1975 Section 1(1)(b) - Equal Treatment Directive (76/207/EEC) - Race Relations Act 1976

No bias in personal appointment

In appointing as his special adviser a man whom he knew personally without advertising the post or considering any other candidate, the Lord Chancellor did not indirectly discriminate on the grounds of sex or race.

The Court of Appeal so held, dismissing the appeal of the applicants, Jane Coker and Martha Osamor, against the Employment Appeal Tribunal (The Times January 23, 2001) who, by a majority, had dismissed their appeals and allowed that of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chancellor's Department, from a decision of a south London employment tribunal on May 20, 1999 (i) that there was no direct discrimination against either applicant; but (ii) that there had been indirect discrimination against Ms Coker but not against Ms Osamor.

Mr Robin Allen, QC and Ms Karon Monaghan for Ms Coker; Ms Karon Monaghan for Ms Osamor; Sir Sydney Kentridge, QC and Mr Richard McManus, QC, for the Lord Chancellor.

THE MASTER OF THE ROLLS, giving the judgment of the court, said that each applicant was a woman. Ms Osamor was Nigerian.

The Lord Chancellor appointed as his special adviser Mr Garry Hart, a senior partner in the firm of Herbert Smith, who was known personally to him. Mr Hart was a white male.

The Lord Chancellor did not advertise the post. There was no one but Mr Hart whom the Lord Chancellor considered had all the qualifications needed to be his special adviser.

The applicants complained that the manner in which the Lord Chancellor made that appointment discriminated against them contrary to section 1(1)(b) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Equal Treatment Directive (76/207/EEC) (OJ 1976 L39/40).

Ms Osamor also complained of discrimination contrary to the Race Relations Act 1976.

Neither applicant applied for the post of special adviser to the Lord Chancellor. They were not aware that such a post was to be created. Had they known they would have wished to apply for it.

Had they applied they would not have been considered because they were not personally known to the Lord...

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21 cases
  • Hashwani v Jivraj
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 22 June 2010
    ...have a remedy. We think that that analysis is supported by the obiter observations of this court in paragraph 51 of its judgment in Lord Chancellor v Coker [2002] ICR 321. Conclusion as to the scope of the Regulations in this case 25 For all these reasons we do not think that the Regulatio......
  • HM Land Registry v Grant
    • United Kingdom
    • Employment Appeal Tribunal
    • Invalid date
  • Tapere v South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
    • United Kingdom
    • Employment Appeal Tribunal
    • Invalid date
  • Jivraj v Hashwani
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 22 June 2010
    ...AC 428. Knight v A-GICR [1979] ICR 194. Litster v Forth Dry Dock & Engineering Co LtdELR [1990] 1 AC 546. Lord Chancellor v CokerICR [2002] ICR 321. Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internationale de Alimentacion SAECAS (Case C-106/89) [1990] ECR I-4135. Marshall v NM Financial Management L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Achieving social mobility
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Discrimination and the Law Nbr. 13-4, December 2013
    • 1 December 2013
    ...fits’. In the context of race, see King v. Great Britain-ChinaCentre (1992) ICR 516 (CA).99. See, for example, Coker v. Lord Chancellor (2002) ICR 321 (CA).100. For example, religion, race, or sexual orientation. See the US case EEOC v. Townley Engi-neering 859 F 2d 610 (ninth Cir. 1988), w......
  • Employee-referral schemes and discrimination law
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Discrimination and the Law Nbr. 15-3, September 2015
    • 1 September 2015
    ...States v. Georgia Power 474F 2d 906, at 925–926 (7th Cir 1993) and EEOC v. Chicago Miniature Lamp Works 947 F 2d292 (7th Cir 1991).19. [2002] I.C.R. 321 (CA).20. Ibid, at [57].21. This allows for a person deterred by the provision, criterion or practice: see ExplanatoryNotes, para.79.22. Th......

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