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Important Supreme Court case on Article 14 discrimination and objective justification

DATE: 23 May 2012

The Supreme Court has given an important ruling on discrimination contrary to Article 14 ECHR and objective justification in Humphreys v HMRC [2012] UKSC 18.  The decision concerned whether Child Tax Credit, a welfare benefit paid for children, can be split by HMRC between parents who have separated and share the care of their children near-equally. It was accepted that the provision discriminated against men.  HMRC argued that the administrative costs and potential complexity of any split were such that a “bright line” rule was justifiable even where a minority carer (as in this case) was on subsistence benefits.  The Court ruled in favour of HMRC that the legislation was objectively justified and not contrary to Article 14 ECHR.

Richard Drabble QC and Sasha Blackmore appeared for Mr Humphreys