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High Court rules in favour of two severely disabled people who challenged the absence of transitional protection

Related Member(s):
Zoë Leventhal, Chris Buttler
Related Practice Area(s):
Discrimination and Equality

The High Court has ruled in favour of two severely disabled people who challenged the absence of transitional protection under Regulations which provide for rolling out of universal credit and the abolition of previous welfare benefits. The claim was brought by two severely disabled people who were obliged to claim universal credit when they moved across local housing authority boundaries. The absence of transitional protection resulted in a loss of income of over £170 per month.

The Court found that the lack of transitional protection for severely disabled people who moved across local authority boundaries resulted in differential treatment between them and others who remained or moved within their local housing authority area, and that such differential treatment was not objectively justifiable.

Consequently, the Court held that the transitional arrangements for the roll-out of universal credit unlawfully discriminated against severely disabled people, in breach of Article 14 ECHR read with Article 1 of the First Protocol to the ECHR.

The SSWP has already issued a written ministerial statement indicating that the law will be changed and transitional protection paid retrospectively and prospectively to those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium being migrated across to Universal Credit, please click here to view the statement.

Zoë Leventhal acted for the claimants and Chris Buttler acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, intervening.