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Court decision summaries

These decision summaries are free for you to download. We are committed to providing free information on our website but we are a small charity and if you are able to make a donation to help cover costs of research and updating it would make a big difference.

Decisions are listed under subject headings:

attention in connection with bodily functions
benefit cap
benefits abroad 
claiming
council tax reduction scheme
council tax disability reduction scheme 
decision making powers
deprivation of liberty
disability discrimination
disability living allowance
discretionary housing payments
duty to disclose 
employment protection
fraud 
habitual residence test 
housing
housing benefit - adapting a dwelling for a disabled person
housing benefit spare room subsidy (bedroom tax)
independent living - social care
nhs funded care and dla
overpayment recovery
perceived bias 
permitted work 
personal capability assessment
personal independendence payment
right to reside
work capability assessment
work programme

Attention in connection with bodily functions

Batty

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v June Batty - Re Attendance Allowance. Help with getting drinks which were carried to the claimant and attention in connection with bodily functions.

Moyna

Moyna v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (formerly against the social security commissioner)(appellant) - The Disability Living Allowance disability test involves looking at the whole nine month period. The cooking test is a 'theoretical meal'.

Benefit cap

DA and Others

DA and Others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - This Court of Appeal decision allows a DWP appeal against an earlier High Court decision, which found that the rules applying the benefit cap to lone parents with children under two was unlawful. The Court of Appeal have allowed a further appeal to Supreme Court.

Hurley

Hurley and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - This High Court decision finds that the benefit cap is unlawful because it discriminates against those entitled to Carers Allowance who provide care to relatives such as a parent or grandparent, or a disabled child aged 18 or over.

Benefits abroad

Commission of the European Communities v the European Parliament and the Council - DLA care component, AA and Carers Allowance should be paid to people who move from the UK to another country within the European Economic Area:

Ralph James Bartlett, Natalio Gonzalez Ramos, Jason Michael Taylor v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - DLA mobility component stands as a separate benefit to DLA care component and is classed as a special non-contributory benefit. As a result DLA mobility component cannot be exported.

Claiming

Novitskaya

Novitskaya v London Borough of Brent - What constitutes a valid claim for housing benefit, particularly in circumstances where the benefit itself is not mentioned in a claim.

Council tax reduction scheme

Logan

Mark Logan v the London Borough of Havering [2015] - This High Court decision holds that a council tax reduction scheme did not discriminate on disability grounds as it applied to all of working age. The decision allows leaves open the possibility for 100% council tax support for those with little prospect of working.

Council tax disability reduction scheme

Hanson

The Queen on the application of Hanson (claimant) v Middlesbrough Borough Council [2006] - Where a property had been specially modified to give a second bathroom to meet special needs.

Sandwell

R (Sandwell Metropolitan District Council) v Perks and the West Midlands (West) Valuation Tribunal - Anyone wishing to claim a reduction for disability for a room which is used to meet someone's special needs will need to establish a "causative link".

Titley

South Gloucestershire Council v Malcolm Titley and Colin John Clothier - The cases concerned the use of a separate room where a hearing loop was available and the use of a separate room as a 'sanctuary'.

Decision making powers

Abbas

Abbas v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions - The power of the commissioner/judge to extend a decision beyond the confines of an existing award.

Carmichael

Secretary of State for Work And Pensions v Carmichael & Anor - This Court if Appeal decision prevents a tribunal from devising  solutions to Human Rights violations outside of the law governing the benefit in question, forcing claimants to appeal to higher courts instead. The ruling has implications for employment and immigration tribunals.

Donnelly

Opinion of Lord Wheatley in the petition of Patrick Donnelly (ap) against advocate general for Scotland, representing Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - Appealing against a commissioner's/judges refusal to grant leave to appeal.

Deprivation of liberty

P

P (by his litigation friend the official solicitor) v Cheshire West and Chester Council & anor - This Supreme Court decision considers the criteria for judging whether the living arrangements made for a mentally incapacitated person amount to a deprivation of liberty.

MK

Somerset County Council v MK & Anor - In this Court of Protection case the council had not put in place any procedure for the authorisation of Deprivation of Liberty – consequently there was no framework in place within which the mother could appeal to have her daughter returned when she returned from holiday. The mother was not informed that she could have appealed directly to the Court of Protection.

Disability Discrimination

Boyle

Boyle v SCA packaging ltd 2009 - This House of Lords decision discusses the meaning of disability, particularly in relation to paragraph 6(1) of Schedule 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Coleman

Sharon Coleman v Attridge Law & Stephen Law  - "Discrimination by association" where someone is working but has caring responsibilities.

FOA v KL

Fag og Arbejde (FOA) v Kommunernes Landsforening (KL) - This was a request for a preliminary ruling to the European Court which considered whether European Law prohibited discrimination because someone was obese and also whether obesity could be seen as a disability, which would in turn lead to protection from discrimination under European law.

Paulley

Firstgroup Plc v Paulley 2017 - The main issue of the case concerned reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 and whether a bus company’s policy, or “provision criterion or practice” (PCP) met this in relation to wheelchair users. This Supreme Court decision upholds Doug Paulley's case against Firstgroup Plc to a limited degree

Stott

Stott v Thomas Cook – The case considers travel discrimination by an air carrier and the denial of compensation for injured feelings because of the constraints of the Montreal convention.

X

X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau - The term 'occupation' does not cover volunteers in the European equal treatment legislation.

Disability living allowance

Mathieson

Mathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - The Supreme Court ruled that suspending child's DLA after 84 days in hospital breached his human rights. Following this decision, the relevant law regarding DLA and PIP has been changed by SI 2016/556.

Discretionary payments for housing benefit

Hardy

Hardy, R v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council - This High Court decision states that a local authority's decision to take the care component of disability living allowance (DLA) into account when assessing discretionary housing payments (DHPs) is unlawful,

Gargett

Gargett, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Lambeth - Regulation 4 of the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001 did not allow a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to exceed a claimant's 'eligible rent'.

SC v East Riding

SC v East Riding of Yorkshire Council - This English Valuation Tribunal decision confirms that such Tribunals have unlimited power to overturn decisions by councils which refuse to award discretionary hardship payments.

Duty to disclose

B v the United Kingdom - As a result of this decision, providing the DWP clearly inform a claimant of the requirement to report information that might affect his or her benefit the claimant will have failed to disclose if he or she does not do this. The only exception to this would appear to be in cases where someone is unable to act for themselves, in which case the duty would fall onto the agent or appointee.

Coventry City Council v Vassell - This High Court decision considers the test to be applied when deciding whether a criminal offence has been committed under section 112(1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 in a case of failure to disclose.

Hinchy

Hinchy v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - As a result of this House of Lords decision a claimant is under a duty to inform the relevant office where a decision about one benefit may affect entitlement to another, such as in this case where the claimant lost her disability living allowance and failed to inform the income support department.

Kerr

Kerr (ap) (respondent) v. Department for Social Development (appellants) (Northern Ireland ) [2004] - Refusal to award Funeral Expenses Payment. It is not the claimant's duty to provide information on whether other siblings are on benefits. The Department can look at its own records.

Levy

Levy v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2006] - The onus of proof that a claim has been made lies with the claimant where a claim form is posted but not received. In such cases the Secretary of State should provide evidence of attempts to establish non-receipt.

Employment protection

Heyday

Age UK, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills & Ors [2009] - This High Court decision, known as the Heyday case, has ruled that the default retirement age (DRA) set by the Government was lawful at the time it was introduced in 2006 but questions whether it should apply in future.

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce plc v Unite - This court of appeal decision allows companies to take length of service into account when deciding redundancies.

Fraud

Ribble

R v South Ribble Borough Council Housing Benefit review board ex parte Hamilton ca 2000 - This case considered whether it was correct to withold payment of housing benefit (HB) that was dependant on an award of income support (IS) where IS fraud was suspected. The conclusion was that it was lawful.

Habitual residence test

Collins

Collins v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - This decision states that the habitual residence test cannot be used to restrict European Union national's access to income-based jobseeker's allowance unless the Government can show that a period residence of itself is necessary to show that the person is genuinely active in the labour market.

Housing

SG

R (SG) v Haringey LBC and SSHD - High Court judge forces Haringey to retake a decision because an asylum seeker was not provided with an independent advocate under the Care Act and Haringey had not disregarded the provision of asylum support by the Secretary of State when making their decision.

Weaver 

R (Weaver) v London and Quadrant Housing Trust - In this court of appeal decision the court found that some registered social landlords, such as charities, companies or co-operatives that provide social housing, should be treated as public bodies and subject to the Human Rights Act.

Housing benefit - adapting a dwelling for a disabled person

Mahmoudi

Mahmoudi, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Lewisham & Anor - This Court of Appeal decision states that redecoration counts as adapting a dwelling to meet disability needs.

Housing benefit spare room subsidy (bedroom tax)

A, MA and Ors, Rutherford

These are jointly considered decisions. Read a full summary

  • R (on the application of Carmichael and Rourke) (formerly known as MA and others) - see also Secretary of State for Work And Pensions v Carmichael & Anor
  • R (on the application of Daly and others) (formerly known as MA and others) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent)
  • R (on the application of Rutherford and another) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant)
  • R (on the application of A) (Respondent/Cross-Appellant) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant/Cross-Respondent)

Burnip

Burnip v Birmingham City Council & anor - In this decision the Court of Appeal held that the size criteria in the housing benefit regulations discriminate against disabled people, because they do not allow for an additional room to be paid for where a disabled person has a carer, or where two children cannot share a room because of disability.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions against The City of Glasgow Council and IB - This Scottish Court of Session decision has ruled that the classification of a property as having one or more bedrooms is not related to the actual needs of the occupiers. Rather it is the local authority who decides what rooms are classified as bedrooms. Read more

Independent living - Social Care

Bracking

Stuart Bracking & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] - The Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that the Government's consultation over the closure of the Independent Living Fund was not defective in law. The Government, in deciding to close the ILF, failed to discharge the public sector equality duty imposed under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010

CP

CP v North East Lincolnshire Council [2018] - This High Court decision says that a personal budget assessment must be clear/transparent, to ensure that the care package meets the user’s needs and should not make assumptions about services or other help that may be provided. 

Coughlan

R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex p Coughlan - Economic factors vs needs and who has overall responsibility for care provision - NHS or local authority?

D, R (On the Application Of) v Worcestershire County Council [2013] - LA's use of 'maximum expenditure policy'.

Grogan

R on the application of Grogan v Bexley NHSs care trust and others - This High Court judgement concerned the assessment criteria used when deciding whether someone satisfied the continuing care criteria for NHS funded care.

JM and NT, R (on the application of) v Isle of Wight Council - This High Court decision looks at some of the issues that local authorities face when they are considering trying to reduce the costs of community care services. The Court emphasised the importance of following statutory Guidance, and carrying out adequate consultation.

KM v Cambridgeshire - This Supreme court judgment clarifies the role of the Resource Allocation System in the calculation of the budget for an individual user.

McDonald

McDonald vs United Kingdom - This European Court decision concerns the right of a local authority to withdraw or amend care support where the recipient's circumstances are unchanged but where a cheaper alternative is available.

Sefton

Sefton Care Association and ors, R (on the application of) v Sefton Council - This High Court decision looks at some of the issues that local authorities face when they are considering trying to reduce the costs of community care services. The Court emphasised the importance of following statutory Guidance, and carrying out adequate consultation.

YL v Birmingham City Council and others - This House of Lords decision held by a majority of 3 to 2 that a private care home providing care and accommodation for an elderly person, under contract with a local authority, was not exercising “functions of a public nature” within s 6(3)(b) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

NHS funded care and DLA

Slavin

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Slavin [2011] - This Court of Appeal decision affirms that, in certain circumstances, claimants who are living in a care home wholly funded by the NHS may be entitled to the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Overpayment recovery

The Child Poverty Action Group (respondent) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (appellant) - Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) succeeded in overturning a decision allowing the Department for Work and Pensions to issue letters requesting repayment, at common law, of money paid by mistake where Section 71 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 is intended to be used as a means of recovery.

Perceived bias

Cunningham

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v. a decision of the Deputy Social Security Commissioner of 19th February 2003 in application for a Disability Lliving Allowance by Helen Cunningham - This considers "apparent bias" where a doctor who had prepared a medical report had previously sat as a panel member with the tribunal chairman and lay-member.

Gillies

Gillies (AP) (appellant) v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (respondent) (Scotland)[2006] - In this decision the House of Lords has upheld a Scottish Court of Session decision that there was no bias in examining doctors sitting on tribunals.

Permitted work

Doyle

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Doyle - This Court of Appeal decision, reported as R(IB)1/06, from an earlier commissioner's decision confirms the use of the Computation of Earnings Regulations as the means whereby incapacity benefit permitted work is calculated.

Personal capability assessment (Incapacity Benefit)

Charlton 

Charlton v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - This decision considers the type of work referred to when considering exceptional circumstances in incapacity benefit cases.

howker

Howker v. Secretary of State for Social Security - In this court of appeal decision it was found that amendments to regulation 27 of Social Security (Incapacity for Work) (General) Regulations 1995, as made by SI 1996/3207, were"ultra vires" (beyond ones powers of authority and therefore unlawful). As a result part of the regulation has now reverted to the old unamended regulation 27.

Personal Independence Payment

MS C and Anor, R v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

MS C & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] EWHC 1607 (Admin) (05 June 2015) - This High Court deicision finds that the Government acted unreasonably and unlawfully in failing to award Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to disabled claimants within a reasonable timescale.

Sumpter

The Queen on the Application of Steven Sumpter and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - In this judgment, the High Court consider the judicial review challenge to the fairness of the consultation process on the introduction of new 20 metre eligibility criteria for the mobility component of PIP.

RF

RF v Secretary of State for Department of Work and Pensions - High Court finds PIP mobility regulation changes unlawful for those with psychological distress.

Right to reside

Ibrahim

London Borough of Harrow v Nimco Hassan Ibrahim and the Secretary of State for the Home Department - This European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment concerns whether, in certain circumstances, a person has a right to reside as the parent and primary carer of a child in education in a host Member State.

Patmalniece

Patmalniece (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - The issue in this appeal is whether the conditions of entitlement to state pension credit (SPC) are compatible with a rule of EU law which prohibits discrimination between nationals of different Member States.

Teixeira

Maria Teixeira v London Borough of Lambeth and the Secretary of State for the Home Department - This European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment concerns whether, in certain circumstances, a person has a right to reside as the parent and primary carer of a child in education in a host Member State.

Work Capability Assessment

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM & Anor - WCA self reporting process disadvantages people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism.

Work Programme

Reilly

Reilly and other v Secretary of State - This is series of court decsions concerning the Jobseeker's Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations (2011/917) which were quashed as unlawful and whether lost benefit could be reclaimed.