Aileen McColgan

Called 2001
Aileen McColgan

Aileen specialises mainly in public and employment law with a particular interest in equality/discrimination, human rights, education law and community care law.  Her practice also extends to privacy, data protection and freedom of information law. 
 
Recent and/or notable cases 
 
Aileen has recently represented claimant care home providers in a range of challenges to local authority fee setting decisions (see for example R (Care North East Newcastle) v Newcastle CC [2012] EWHC 2655 (Admin); R (Redcar & Cleveland Independent Providers Association) v Redcar & Cleveland BC [2013] EWHC 4 (Admin), R (Members of Care North East Northumberland) v Northumberland CC [2013] LGR 265).
 
She appears regularly for the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in higher education judicial review challenges (see for example R (Mustafa) v OIA [2013] All ER (D) 323 (May); Burger v OIA [2013] All ER (D) 99 (Feb)).
 
Other recent cares in the High Court include Hunt v North Somerset Council [2012] All ER (D) 295 (Jul), in which she appeared with David Wolfe QC for the Claimant. (The decision of the Court of Appeal is awaited) and R (AMC) v Arts Council England [2012] All ER (D) 242 (Jun), in which she appeared for the Defendant.
 
Aileen has appeared in a large number of employment cases for News Group Newspapers, successfully defending The Times against a religious discrimination challenge in Heafield v Times Newspapers [2012] EqLR 901 and an age discrimination claim in Clark v Times Newspapers (2012), and The Sun against a sex discrimination challenge in Self v News Group Newspapers Ltd (2012). Aileen has also appeared for the EHRC in a number of employment cases and acts for both claimants and respondents in a variety of tribunal cases concerned regularly, but not invariably, with discrimination. 
 
Aileen’s appellate employment cases include Jivraj v Hashwani [2011] ICR 1004 (Supreme Court), which concerned the application of equality law to the appointment of arbitrators and Ladele v London Borough of Islington [2009] IRLR 154 (EAT), [2010] IRLR 211 (CA), on the scope of the prohibition on religious discrimination. The decisions of the domestic courts in Ladele and in MacFarlane v Relate (in which Aileen also intervened, with Karon Monaghan QC, for Liberty) were recently upheld by the ECtHR. Aileen intervened for the EHRC in the Redfearn v United Kingdom case, which concerned the protection provided by the Convention to a BNP councillor sacked from his job because of his political activities. Other appellate cases include Brain v Remploy Ltd (2011) All ER (D) 143 (Mar) on time limits, Miller v Bellway Homes [2010] All ER (D) 245 (Nov) on perversity and R (Purja) v MOD (2004) 1 WLR 289 (challenge to the differential treatment of serving Gurkhas and other British Army personnel).
 
Aileen’s public sector equality duty (PSED) challenges include R (Hurley & Anor) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (2012) All ER (D) 116 Feb in which the Divisional Court granted a declaration that the PSED had not been properly complied with in the changes to the tuition fee regime. Aileen acted with Helen Mountfield QC. She is also acting with David Wolfe QC in a PSED challenge to funding cuts in Hunt v North Somerset Council [2012] EWHC 1928 (Admin) (the decision of the Court of Appeal is awaited), and with Helen Mountfield QC in R (Hajrula) v London Councils (2011) All ER (D) 119 (Apr) and in R (Kaur & Shah) v Ealing London Borough Council & EHRC (2008) All ER (D) 08 (Oct). 
 
Aileen advised the EHRC (of whose standing panel of counsel she is a member) in its assessment of HM Treasury’s 2010 Spending Review and intervened on behalf of Liberty in the High Court challenge to the government’s pre-entry language testing regime in R (Chapti) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2012] 2 All ER 653, which concerned the application of Article 14. She intervened on behalf of the National Care Association in R (Johnson) v Havering Borough Council, YL v Birmingham City Council & Ors (2007) 2 WLR 1097, which concerned the scope of “public authorities” under the Human Rights Act 1998.
 
Aileen’s education work includes frequent appearances for the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (recently R (Mustafa v OIA [2013] All ER (D) 323 (May); Burger v OIA [2013] All ER (D) 99 (Feb)). Other cases include Hurley & Moore (above), Murphy v Slough Borough Council (2005) ICR 721 (responsibility for making reasonable adjustments to accommodate teachers in maintained schools); R (N) v North Tyneside [2010] ELR 312 (CA) (which concerned the nature of the obligation imposed by Statements of SEN) and R (E) v Governing Body of JFS & Others [2010] 2 AC 728 (which concerned the application of the prohibition on race discrimination to the admissions policy of the school). She also appears before the First-Tier and Upper Tribunal in education matters (see, most recently A London Borough v B (SEN); R(A London Borough) v FtT (HESC) and B; R (B) v Governing Body of the A Voluntary Aided Primary School and a London Borough [2013] UKUT 0347 (AAC)), as well as doing extensive advisory work in this area.
 
Other public law cases include R (Asian Music Circuit) v Arts Council England [2012] EWHC 1538 (Admin) in which Aileen successfully defended the Arts Council against a challenge to its implementation of a new funding model, itself significantly affected by huge reductions in that body’s budget; Regina (Sultan of Pahang) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2011) Times, 13 June, which concerned sovereign immunity; Rodriguez v The Minister for Housing of the Government of Gibraltar and the Housing Allocation Committee (2009) UKPC 52 (sexual orientation discrimination in housing provision); R (Mohammed) v Secretary of State for Defence (2007) All ER (D) 09 (May) (CA) and R (Gurung) v MOD (2002) Times 28 December (whether exclusion of former Gurkhas from compensation schemes for Japanese POWs was directly discriminatory on the grounds of race); and R (Carson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2006] 1 AC 173 (Article 14 and pensions).
 
In addition to advocacy Aileen does extensive advisory and training work, in particular on human rights, discrimination/equality and employment law. She recently assisted the EHRC in its 2012 report “How Fair is Britain” and is UK National Expert on the European Networks of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality and of Experts in the Non-discrimination Field. In that capacity she recently completed a report on the state of discrimination law across the EU and accession states in those matters to which EU law does not presently apply. She is Professor of Human Rights Law at King's College London; Vice President of the Institute of Employment Rights; editor of the Education Law Reports, a member of the editorial committees of Public Law, European Human Rights Law Review and the International Journal of Discrimination and the Law; a trustee of the British Institute of Human Rights and a former Executive Committee Member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Industrial Law Society. She has published very widely on human rights, discrimination and employment law.
 
Aileen accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.