19 December 2011
Link to judgment
Summary of case
The Council decided to close six of the twelve public libraries in the Borough in order to respond to anticipated budget cuts. The claim was made on a number of grounds, but the main one was that the council had breached its duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, by failing to have due regard the elements of the Equality Duty at a formative stage of the decision making process, in particular, to the need to eliminate race discrimination. Indirect discrimination arose, it was argued, because 46% of borrowers from Brent libraries are Asian, although Asians make up only 28% of the population of the borough.
The Council were not acting in breach of their Equality Duty. They had produced an equality impact assessment that the trial judge had found to be informed and thorough and the risk of discrimination against the Asian community had not been raised before the decision on the library closures was made.