Stuart Bracking and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWCA Civ 1345

Case No: C1/2013/1283

Date

6 November 2013

Link to judgment

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2013/1345.html&query=bracking+and+”public+sector+equality+duty”&method=boolean

Discrimination grounds

Disability

Summary of case

The claimants were disabled people and current users of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which provides funding to disabled people to supplement the community care services available to them from local authorities. After public consultation, the closure of the ILF in 2015 was confirmed by the Government.

The claimants sought judicial review of two decisions of the defendant Secretary of State:

  • The first was the consultation engaged in between July and October 2012 as to the impact of the proposed closure of the ILF. They claimed that the consultation process was defective principally because inadequate information had been given as to what was understood by devolution of the fund to enable consultees to make an effective response and, in particular, provide sufficient data to inform the Equality Duty.
  • The second was the decision made in December 2012 to close the fund: The Government was said to have failed in reaching the decision to have due regard to its Equality Duty.

The High Court had:

  • rejected the claimants’ claims that the consultation process in respect of the proposal to close the ILF was defective, and
  • held that the decision to close the ILF was not in breach of the Equality Duty.

The Claimants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Outcome

The Court of Appeal upheld this legal challenge against the Government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund.

LJ McCombe said (at para 62) ‘there is simply not the evidence … to demonstrate to the court that a focussed regard was had to the potentially very grave impact upon individuals in this group of disabled persons, within the context of a consideration of the statutory requirements for disabled people as a whole.’