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Francis v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions

DATE: 18 Nov 2005

Landmark members have been involved on both sides of a hearing before the Court of Appeal. The Claimant Ms Francis was a woman who was caring for her sister's child under a residence order. She was refused a Sure Start Maternity Grant by the Department of Work & Pensions on the basis that she had a residence and not an adoption order. Nathalie Lieven, instructed by the Public Law Project persuaded the Court of Appeal that to refuse to award the Maternity Grant in these circumstances was contrary to Article 14 of the European Convention, because there was no material difference for the purposes of the Maternity Grant between a residence and an adoption order. Counsel for the Department of Work & Pensions, Daniel Kolinsky, argued that Ms Francis' position was not a "personal circumstance" for the purposes of Article 14. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument.