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No general requirement under EU for Member States to provide parents with particular levels of support

R (HC) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions & Ors [2013] EWHC 3874 (Admin)

Related Member(s):
Helen Mountfield QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Human Rights, Discrimination and Equality, Public Law, Community Care Law, Local Government Law

The claimant was an Algerian national who had left her partner due to domestic violence in Oct 2012. She had two children, both born in Britain, and the local Council agreed to provide them temporary housing and some assistance under the Children Act 1989. The claimant contested the amount of support given, and it was for the Court to determine whether three amending regulations (The Social Security (Habitual Residence) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 and the Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012) were compatible with EU law, or unlawfully discriminated on various grounds.

Held: the amending regulations did not discriminate against the claimant or her children nor did they breach the ECHR. If there had been discrimination, or a breach, then it would have been proportionate and justified. Additionally, there was no breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, art 24 as there was no general requirement under EU law for Member States to provide parents with particular levels of support. There was no breach of arts 1, 3, 7 or 15, and by reason of art 52(2) the claim was not advanced further than that of the claim of discrimination or breaches of the ECHR. The Equality Analysis and Equality Statements showed that the defendants were aware of the equality implications of the proposed amending regulations. It was for the decision maker to determine the weight to be given to the various factors unless the assessment of the decision maker was unreasonable or irrational. Therefore, the claim failed.

Helen Mountfield QC was involved in this case.