High Court finds the Government discriminated against Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers

Wednesday 21 January 2015

In a judgment handed down this morning, the High Court has found that the conduct of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government constituted indirect discrimination against Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers. This was in relation to Traveller appeals in the Green Belt. Stephen Cottle represented one of the claimants, Sarah Coates.

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The Court also found breaches of Article 6 (the right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) due to the fact that the Secretary of State caused unreasonable delay in processing the appeals of the claimants: both claimants had waited in excess of 12 months for determination of their planning appeals and Mrs Coates, Stephen’s client, had waited for over two years.

The judge also held that the Secretary of State had failed to satisfy the Public Sector Equality Duty: “at no time in any submission to Ministers, or in any report of any Minister’s views, is there any suggestion that any consideration was given, whether by officials or Ministers, to the Public Sector Equality Duty.”

More information can be found in the judgment: R (Moore and Coates) v Sec of State for Communities and Local Government and The Equality and Human Rights Commission as Intervener [2015] EWHC 44 (Admin)

Stephen was instructed by Parminder Sanghera of the Community Law Partnership Ltd.

Stephen Cottle can be contacted via civilclerks@gclaw.co.uk.

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