Court of Appeal confirms that Universal Credit transitional scheme is discriminatory against the severely disabled


Re: R (TP, AR & SXC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 37

The Master of the Rolls, and Singh and Rose LJJ today handed down judgment in the joined appeals of TP, AR & SXC v SSWP.

The Court unanimously dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeals against two High Court judgments (decisions of Lewis J in [2018] EWHC 1474 (Admin) and Swift J in [2019] EWHC 1116 (Admin)), upholding the findings of both High Court judges to the effect that the Universal Credit transitional provisions constitute discrimination under ECHR, art 14 (read with A1P1) in respect of “severely disabled persons” i.e. people who had previously been entitled to receive the Severe Disability Premium in Legacy Benefits.

TP, AR and SXC were all individuals who lost c £180 per month when they were moved onto Universal Credit, because of the absence of transitional protection for them despite their severe disabilities. After Lewis J’s judgment in which he found that the scheme discriminated against severely disabled people who moved local authorities and had to claim UC, the SSWP introduced new regulations which proposed to pay that cohort £80 in transitional payments (rather than the £180 they lost on moving to UC), but Swift J held that those regulations were also discriminatory under art 14 and quashed them.

The Court of Appeal upheld both decisions.

Chris Butler, Jessica Jones and Zoe Leventhal were involved in this case.