In a ruling from the Court of Appeal today (16 April 2019), Hillingdon Borough Council has been found to have unlawfully discriminated against refugees (as part of the wider group of non-UK nationals) on the basis of race in respect of a 10 year residence requirement contained within the Council’s Allocation Scheme for social housing.
The ruling also found that the residence requirement contained within the Allocation Scheme unlawfully discriminated against Irish Travellers on the basis of race. This judgement is in a discrimination claim brought under the Equality Act 2010 and has significant implications for other UK local authorities.
Kurdish refugee Mr Gullu was represented by William Ford, a partner at Osbornes Law, and was supported by the Refugee Council. The Equality and Human Rights Commission were also involved as an intervener in the case.
Commenting after the ruling, Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said: “Policies that make length of residency a condition of entitlement disproportionately affect refugees, who are almost always new to the UK and will have rarely lived in one place for long. The Refugee Council made this point in a detailed witness statement and we welcome unreservedly this landmark judgement because securing safe and secure accommodation is essential to helping refugees rebuild their lives.”