R (RJM) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Judgment Date2006
Neutral Citation[2006] EWHC 1761 (Admin)

House of Lords

Before Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Mance and Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury

Regina (RJM)
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Disability discriminatory policy is justified

The policy of disentitling persons without accommodation from receiving the disability premium to which they would otherwise be entitled in their income support amounted to discrimination within article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights but was lawful as it could be justified on policy grounds.

The House of Lords so held in dismissing an appeal by a homeless person, RJM, from the Court of Appeal (Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Carnwath and Lord Justice Maurice Kay)WLR((2007) 1 WLR 3067) upholding the dismissal by Mr James Goudie, QC, sitting as a deputy judge of the Queen's Bench Division, of his claim for judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to cease to pay disability premium for the period during which RJM was without accommodation within the meaning of paragraph 6 of Schedule 7 to the Income Support (General) Regulations (SI 1987 No 1967).

RJM had claimed that the non-contributory premium was capable of being a possession within article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention so that his right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions was engaged, that withholding the premium by reason of his homelessness was discriminatory on a ground relating to a status contrary to article 14 and that the discrimination was unjustified.

Mr Richard Drabble, QC and Miss Zoe Leventhal for RJM; Mr John Howell, QC and Ms Nathalie Lieven, QC, for the secretary of state; Mr Rabinder Singh, QC, for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, intervening by written submissions.

LORD NEUBERGER said that there was no doubt that paragraph 6 discriminated against disabled persons who qualified for income support and were without accommodation as against such persons who did have accommodation.

The secretary of state had contended, first, that RJM's claim was not within the scope of article 1 of the First Protocol, as he had neither a right nor a legitimate expectation to a disability premium, and indeed the absence of any such right was the basis of his complaint.

However, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled in Stec and Others v United Kingdom (Application Nos 65731/01 and 65900/01)TLR (The Times April 23,...

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