- Human Rights Act 1998 challenge to a local authority’s charging policy succeeds (R (on the application of SH) v Norfolk County Council)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Differential treatment
- Case details
Local Government analysis: Norfolk County Council (the local authority) provided services to SH, charging on a means-tested basis. Following a change in the local authority’s charging policy, SH’s found her assessed contribution increased significantly which she challenged by way of judicial review. SH alleged that the amended policy was unfair and discriminated against her, as a severely disabled person, contrary to section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court found that her ‘severe disability’ was capable of being an ‘other status’ for the purposes of Article 14, concluding that the local authority’s amended charging policy had treated SH differently to others subject to the same policy, and could provide no justification for that difference in treatment,. Consequently, he granted the relief sought. This case highlights what local authorities should consider if a decision risks impacting upon someone with a protected characteristic or ‘other status’. Written by Victoria Cassidy, principal associate at Weightmans LLP.
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