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Matrix Judgments & Commentary

Matrix’s Legal Support Service produce summaries of cases that Matrix members are involved in, which you can find below. You can browse these through the search function on the right.

Not for court to rule on whether Parliament should include Sikh ethnic group’ tick box on Census

R (Gill on behalf of the Sikh Federation) v The Cabinet Office [2019] EWHC 3407 (Admin)

The Sikh Federation has campaigned for the inclusion of a Sikh ethnic group tick box response in the census, in the hope that funding and public services will then be more effectively focused on meeting the needs of the Sikh community.  In this case, they applied for judicial review of “the contemplated exercise of Her Majesty’s discretion to direct a census based on an Order in Council, which does not include a Sikh ethnic tick box”.

Held: The claim is dismissed on the ground that it is premature, and in breach of parliamentary privilege and the constitutional convention of the separation of powers. If the Court were to rule that it would be unlawful for Her Majesty to not include a Sikh ethnic tick box, it would be a clear interference with the Queen in Council’s law-making function, contrary to the constitutional convention of the separation of powers. 

There is a fundamental constitutional distinction between the Court reviewing the lawfulness of an Order in Council once it has been made, and the Court making a declaration which curtails the Queen in Council’s exercise of discretion when making law. This is not an exceptional case which justifies any departure from the general rule that this Court will respect the separation of powers and so not interfere with Parliamentary proceedings.

Home Office’s approach to victims of trafficking found to be unlawful

JP and BS v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 3346 (Admin)

In this case the High Court decided that the Home Office’s approach to protecting victims of trafficking is unlawful.

The test case was brought by two victims of trafficking, who challenged the lawfulness of the Secretary of State’s policy that, in the case of a victim of trafficking who is also making an application for asylum, the Secretary of State will not determine the victim’s application for a residence permit under Article 14(1) of ECAT before making a decision on the asylum application.

The court held that the Defendant breached the rights the claimants under Article 14 (read with Articles 4, 8 and A1P1) of the ECHR, contrary Human Rights Act 1998, s6.

£33 million judgment from Federal Court of Nigeria, unenforceable in UK

Agbara v The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited [2019] EWHC 3340 (QB)

This case discusses the setting aside of the registration of a judgment of the Federal Court of Nigeria for damages worth approximately £33m, before interest, under the Administration of Justice Act 1920, s9. This would mean that the judgment was not enforceable in the UK.

Held: appeal allowed and the registration of judgment will be set aside. The applicant suffered a serious breach of natural justice through being prevented from presenting its defence to the claim, and such a breach would ordinarily lead to the conclusion that it is not “just and convenient” for the judgment to be registered. It would not be just and convenient for the judgment to be enforced in the UK.

Supreme Court rules that housing benefit entitlement should be calculated without deduction where Convention rights are at stake

RR (AP) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] UKSC 52

This case considered the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in R (Carmichael) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 58 upon the decision-makers in the housing benefit system and the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal hearing appeals from local authority decisions – in claims relating to periods before the regulations governing the removal of the spare room subsidy, otherwise known as the “bedroom tax” were amended. The question for the Court was whether the regulations should apply in their original form or whether the housing benefit should be calculated without making the percentage deduction in cases where to do so would breach the Convention rights of the claimants in the way determined in the Carmichael and Rutherford cases.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal. It made the same order as the UT made in Carmichael that (1) the appeal against the local authority’s decision of 5 March 2013 is allowed; and (2) that RR’s housing benefit entitlement was to be recalculated without making the under-occupancy deduction of 14%. The reason for doing so was the same as that which the UT gave, namely that if the deduction was applied, there would be a clear breach of RR’s Convention rights, contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998, section 6(1).

High Court dismisses claim against Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council in parking dispute

Anand & Anor v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2019] EWHC 2964 (Admin)

The claimants, trustees of the Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha) London, sought a statutory review of a Traffic Management Order which imposed additional parking restrictions in the area where a Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) was located. The congregation, many of whom are elderly and less mobile, travel long distances by car to the Gurdwara. If they are unable to park, they may no longer attend, thus threatening the viability of the Gurdwara at its present site.

The Court dismissed the claim. It held that the claimants’ submission that the consultation was unlawful at common law because the questions and the information provided to consultees was inadequate. The claimants had failed to establish that the Council made a clear and unambiguous promise to them that it would not extend the controlled parking hours without further consulting the claimants. It held that the Council was not in breach of the public sector equality duty and, though some may disagree with the Council’s approach, it could not be characterised as irrational.