Dismissing appeal, Court of Appeal holds two child limit for claiming child tax credit is not incompatible with ECHR


Re: R (SC & Ors) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 615

Considering the provisions of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 which impose a limit of two children in respect of whom the individual element of child tax credit (and the child element of universal credit) can be claimed, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

The Court determined that the judge in the lower court was right to hold that the limit is not incompatible with the claimants’ rights under ECHR, arts 8, 12 and 14. The Court accepted that the provisions have a greater impact on women and lead to a difference in treatment between families according to whether there are more than two, or no more than two, children. However, it concluded that the aims of the measure were legitimate and, given the wide area of judgment afforded to the legislature in matters of social and economic policy, neither difference was manifestly not a proportionate means of pursuing legitimate aims. The court held this to be the case even having taken into account the best interests of the children.

Helen Mountfield QC and Raj Desai were involved in this case.