Equality Act 2010: Themis Member successfully defends the Glasgow Housing Association

Themis member Michael Upton acted for the successful defenders in a case brought under the Equality Act 2010 by the housing charity Shelter.  The pursuer, Jacqueline Thomson, sued for damages from Scotland’s largest residential landlord, the Glasgow Housing Association. 

Miss Thomson averred that she had applied to the Association for housing as a disabled person.  However, while her application was pending, she had also become homeless.  The Association grouped applications by disabled persons and homeless persons separately; waiting time in a group counted towards being offered a dwelling, but an applicant who moved from one group to another lost the waiting time that she had accrued in the group which she was leaving. 

She brought an action for indirect discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments for her as a disabled person, under sections 15 and 19-21 of the 2010 Act. 

By judgment dated 4 August Sheriff Kelly has dismissed the action.

The Sheriff accepted that, as matter of relevantly averring a loss which could sound in damages, the pursuer’s averments of being deprived of a substantially greater chance of obtaining a dwelling were relevant for inquiry. 

However, her pleadings failed to identify a provision, criterion or practice of the Association which it was said should have been different.  Moreover, the averments of indirect discrimination were irrelevant; the pursuer compared the longer waiting time for disabled applicants with shorter waiting time for homeless applicants, but that did not compare like with like, because there are fewer dwellings suitable for disabled applicants.

The pursuer also pled breach of the public-sector equality duty imposed by section 149.  The Sheriff rejected a plea that that part of her claim was time-barred.  He held that when the six-month time-bar for proceedings under the Act had elapsed, her pleadings about section 149 had been sufficient to amount to a relevant claim, so as to stop the running of time against her. 

However, he also held that the Sheriff Court does not have jurisdiction over a claim for failure to comply with the public-sector equality duty.  That would seem to mean that section 149 is a matter which an aggrieved individual may only invoke in an application for judicial review, or as incidentally relevant to action for breach of another duty under the Act.

A parallel action by Miss Thomson against Glasgow City Council arising from its handling of her housing application was also dismissed.

Steven Walker KC to speak at the flagship event of Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC)

We are delighted to invite you to attend the flagship event of Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) “International ADR Week 2022” with the most excited topic that you are looking for “Arbitration and ADR Beyond the Pandemic”. 

The webinar is entitled “Arbitration and ADR Beyond the Pandemic” and will feature Steven Walker QC of Themis Advocates.

14th July 2022 at 10:00 – 18:00 (GMT+7 Thailand time)

Please register from this link here

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Commercial / Land & Property Seminar

Friday 21st April 2023

1 William Street, Glasgow G3 8HT

Themis are delighted to invite you to attend our Inaugural Glasgow Conference on Friday 21st April at the Hilton from 1pm-5pm.  Talks will be provided on Commercial and Land & Property.  The event is free to attend, however a donation to our charity of the year Andys Man Club would be appreciated.  You will be accredited 3 hours CPD and is open to all solicitors, trainees and paralegals. 

To register please complete the undernoted registration form.

1:00 – Registration & Refreshments

1:30Andys Man Club (Charity of the Year)

1:45Michael Upton – If Personal Bar is Personal can it also be Real?

2:30Alan McLean KC – The Law of Prescription

3:15 – Refreshment Break

3:30Catherine MacColl – How bright a light at the end of the tunnel? How to consider director’s duties in the face of insolvency following the case of BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA.

4:15Julie McKinley – Case law update

5:00 – Conclusion

5:15 – Drinks and Canapes for which all attendees are invited.