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Court rules that assessor need not be specialist in area of discrimination thus dismissing appeal

David Cary v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis Equality And Human Rights Commission [2014] EWCA Civ 987

Related Member(s):
James Laddie QC, Karon Monaghan QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Discrimination and Equality, Police Law
Court:

David Cary brought proceedings against the police, he alleged they treated his complaint differently because of his sexuality. The matter proceeded to the County Court, and it was directed that the matter be heard by a circuit judge and an assessor. At the hearing he objected that the assessor did not have specific experience and expertise in relation to the type of discrimination complained of. This objection was overruled and was the subject of the appeal.

Dismissing the appeal, the Court noted it was not necessary for the assessor to have specific experience and expertise in relation to the type of discrimination complained of. All that was required was that the assessor be a person of skill and experience ‘in the matter to which the proceedings relate’. The Court noted the preamble to the Equality Act 2010 which noted its purpose was to ‘harmonise equality law’ and this purpose would be defeated by having assessors for each type of discrimination. Further, the Court noted that the nature of discrimination tended to be similar whether it was against race, religion, sexual orientation etc.

James Laddie QC and Karon Monaghan QC were involved in this case.