Rupert’s red top: the rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks

Rupert’s red top: the rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks

Peter Jukes, the live-tweeter extraordinaire of the hacking trial, has written an article for the New Statesman focusing on Rebekah Brooks. Jukes’ tweeting was engaging and brilliant, and for the first time this article starts to reveal the “behind the scenes” he focuses on in his new book, Beyond Contempt: The Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial.

It’s well worth reading. I think the book will be too.

Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley’s Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?

Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley’s Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?

There’s a lot of PR-masquerading-as-news and total fluff that comes with the Silicon Valley press, and most of the time it’s hard to even see the relevance of it unless you’re in the middle of that ecosystem. But Kara Swisher is one of the greats.

Something’s Got to Give

Something’s Got To Give

A timeless article by Darcy Frey in the New York Times Magazine (1996), after he spent five months working with air traffic controllers in Long Island.

That’s O.K., the controller assures himself, he has what they call “the picture” — a mental strategy to avoid conflicts — and despite the quickening traffic, he’s commanding the pilots with rhythmic ease: “Newark jets maintain 2,500 feet. . . . Teterboro props descend to 1,500. . . . La Guardia planes climb to 6,000. . . . “

Then, for an instant, his mind wanders — don’t forget to pick up milk on the way home — and suddenly he looks back at the scope and it’s gone: no picture, no pattern, just a mad spray of blips (and more blips now than there were five seconds ago) heading — where? North or south? Climbing or descending? He can’t remember, and though he tries to catch up, he’s already behind, conflicts arising faster than he can react — one here, one there — jets streaking across the sky at 300 miles an hour, the controller’s stomach in knots because he knows he’s going down, nothing to do but leap from his chair, rip off his headset and yell to his supervisor, “Get me out of here — I’m losing it!”

Using the Sale of Goods Act against technology companies

I really like Apple products, they’re just expensive! The amount you pay for a new MacBook, iPad or iMac is a painful amount out of the wallet, and has always necessitated months, if not more often years, of saving. Like any technology products, they break, and in the last 6 months I’ve managed to use consumer law – with very little effort – to have two iPhones replaced and an expensive iMac repaired.

This strategy works with any expensive product you’ve got – if it’s worth an hour of your time to try and get a replacement or repair, it might be worth following these steps. (I’ve also included some specific guidance relating to claiming on Apple products.)

The relevant law

You need to claim against the retailer you bought the item from. Again, you’ll need proof of purchase, but the relevant legislation is the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, goods must:

  1. Be of satisfactory quality.
  2. Be fit for purpose.
  3. Be as described.
  4. Last for a reasonable length of time.

So how do you use this? If you’ve bought an item and it needs a replacement or repair, first write to the retailer asking for a repair or replacement due to a fault. Most of the time, they’ll refuse: just write to the retailer setting out your rights under the Sale of Goods Act. If that doesn’t work, threaten to take them to Small Claims Court (which costs less than £100, and they have to pay your fees when you win!)

Getting a mobile phone replacement on a contract

The iPhone was on contract with O2, ~13 months into a 2 year contract. This might be different now O2 Refresh is in play (a scheme that allows you to replace your phone with a new model without upgrading your contract), but O2’s standard consumer and business iPhone contracts last for 18+ months (normally 24), whereas the actual phone is only guaranteed against repairs for the first year.

Being quite a large company, O2 know all about the Sale of Goods Act – even if they try and pretend they don’t. This was my original exchange with O2’s live chat:

James Inman: I have spoken to someone on the phone at O2 this morning who said there is nothing you can do because there is only a 1 year warranty, however, under the Sale of Goods act goods must be fit for purpose – which in this case is providing a phone on a 2 year contract that works for 2 years.
James Inman: Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, as a seller, O2 should ensure that the goods are of a satisfactory quality and last for a reasonable length of time.
James Inman: You have sold a phone on a 2 year contract that has not lasted 2 years.
O2: Sabi: I’m sorry James, I’ll have to stick to the replacement process we have in place
O2: Sabi: I won’t be able to take any exceptions on this
James Inman: Please transfer me to your supervisor.
O2: Ken – Supervisor: Hello James. As per our terms and conditions we offer only 1 year warranty on iPhone.

Safe to say, I wasn’t getting anywhere with their live chat, and this was just a waste of time! I then drafted a two paragraph emailed to O2 setting out my 4 rights under the Sale of Goods Act and stating that a reasonable length of time for an expensive phone to last was not 13 months – and that I would happily take them to Small Claims Court if they didn’t agree to replace the telephone.

Within an hour, I’d received a telephone call from O2 telling me they’d sent out a replacement iPhone!

What’s different with Apple?

If you’re dealing with products Apple have sold (through a retail store or online), or Apple products you’ve bought from elsewhere, you can call and ask AppleCare – whether you have AppleCare or not – for an “EU Consumer Law Claim Form”. They’ll fill this out for you, and tell you whether they’ll repair your product or not. From what I’ve heard, this will work for up to 6 years after the date of purchase, as long as there’s no accidental damage on the product you need repairing.

This route seems to be open with Apple as they spent so long not abiding by EU law and insisting you needed to purchase AppleCare for repairs! Apple’s information on the “statutory warranty” is here. Unless you have your proof of purchase, Apple don’t have to bite on this, but if you’ve bought something from the Apple Web Store, even on a previous Apple ID years ago, they can dig out the invoice by product serial number.

This seems to work best when you take a product into the Genius Bar or an Apple Authorised Service Provider: AASPs have a system that fills this form out and automatically sends it off to Apple if you request – and the Genius Bar can make decisions in-store. You can always try the Sale of Goods Act route with Apple if this doesn’t work, too.

Good luck!

Do you really want your medical data made available to anyone?

The idea of data sharing in the NHS terrifies many people, but not me. I see many practical uses that haven’t been fully exploited: I’d like to be able to walk into an out-of-hours GP surgery or an A+E department, give them my name and date of birth, and have my full medical records in front of the doctor.

What I expressly don’t want is for anyone to be able to access my personal medical information, including the conversations I’ve had with my doctors and consultants. I don’t mind fully anonymised data being made available to medical researchers, but I do mind when it’s identifiable information. Likewise, I’d never dream of letting private companies near my medical records.

Unfortunately, this is just what’s about to happen.

From a recent article in The Independent, on care.data:

From spring this year, every GP surgery in England must begin sending patient information to a central NHS database. The data trawl, which has been given the equally innocuous title care.data, is being hailed as a revolution in the use of information to plan and improve our healthcare – a project which has been personally spearheaded by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

But it has also been condemned as a government-backed intrusion into our privacy on an unprecedented scale. For the first time, information about the private things we discuss with our GP will be – with some exceptions – held in a national database, alongside our NHS number, date of birth, postcode and gender.

Even more worryingly for some campaigners, the data may in future be made available to non-NHS researchers including private health companies – albeit in a “pseudonymised” format.

Why is it right to be concerned?

The notification process is shoddy. There’s no guarantee you’ll get to see the NHS England leaflet that’s being sent out: although they’re supposedly being sent to every household, they’ll be a standard “To The Occupier” – so you might throw it away as junk mail – or someone else in your house might.

care.data isn’t the same as the Summary Care Record, which will share information on your allergies, medicines and other emergency treatment, and make it available for A+E departments and out of hours services. Mostly importantly, the information on care.data can be used other than for your medical care – which is something the Summary Care Record doesn’t allow. I’m not comfortable sharing my medical data with anyone except the doctors and nurses treating me.

Is it really anonymised?

The idea that your “NHS number, date of birth, postcode and gender” will mean you can’t be identified if someone knows what they’re looking for simply isn’t correct. Anyone with access to this database – which eventually, could be a wide range of people – will be able to find who you are based on searching the electoral roll.

How do I opt out?

The following suggested letter, based on one provided by care-data.info, is an easy opt-out. Just send it to your GP’s surgery with your name, address and date of birth. I have included a penultimate paragraph, stating that this does not apply to the Summary Care Record – but you can remove this if you don’t want your records on that either.

Dear Doctor,

I am writing to give notice that I refuse consent for my identifiable information to be transferred from your practice systems for any purpose other than my medical care.

Please take whatever steps necessary to ensure my confidential personal information is not uploaded and record my dissent by whatever means possible.

This includes adding the ‘Dissent from secondary use of GP patient identifiable data’ code (Read v2: 9Nu0 or CVT3: XaZ89) to my record as well as the ‘Dissent from disclosure of personal confidential data by Health and Social Care Information Centre’ code (Read v2: 9Nu4 or CTV3: XaaVL).

For the avoidance of doubt, this request relates to the scheme known as “care.data”. I would like you to make my medical information available to other healthcare professionals as part of the “Summary Care Record” and associated systems.

I understand this request will not affect the care I receive and will notify you should I change my mind.

Yours sincerely,

YOUR NAME
YOUR DATE OF BIRTH

You can also download a Word document version of the letter.

At this moment in time I’m struggling to see any negative effects from opting out. At the very least, just until the intentions of the system have become clear, I’d urge you to do so.

An introduction to SEN law

The definition of “special educational need” and “learning difficulty”

A child has special education needs, under the 1996 Education Act, if they have a learning difficulty (s. 1) which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A learning difficulty (s. 2) is when a child has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of their age, can’t make use of the standard educational facilities for children of their age, or would have the above but is under compulsory school age.

What support is available for children with SEN?

A child can either not be on the school’s special educational needs register or be receiving help informally, but it is good practice for schools who have concerns about children with SEN to adopt either the levels “School Action” or “School Action +” (SA and SA+ respectively.) SA+ is normally triggered when an outside agency, such as an educational psychologist or CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) becomes involved.

Importantly, SA and SA+ do not require a school to give any particular help to a child with SEN. The SEN Code of Practice, which is not a legally binding document but should be taken into account, recommends that schools put together an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a child with SEN. This should include details of what extra help is being given and what targets the child should achieve in the short-term, as well as a date of review.

The only way in which a Local Authority (and therefore a school) can be legally made to provide support for a child with SEN is through a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

What is a statement of special educational needs?

This is divided into 6 parts:

Part 1: The child’s personal details and a list of reports used to compile the statement.
Part 2: A detailed description of all the child’s special educational needs.
Part 3: The support (special educational provision) that will be provided to the child.
Part 4: The school or type of school the child will attend.
Part 5: Any non-educational, including medical, needs.
Part 6: Any support required for the non-educational needs which will not be provided by the Local Authority.

Only parts 2, 3 and 4 are binding on the Local Authority, so it is very important for parents to get them right. Statements are reviewed once a year, and it is not uncommon for Local Authorities to either refuse to issue statements, to write them but miss out (whether accidentally or intentionally) the child’s needs or the provision that needs to be made, or to amend them at annual review.

An assessment of the child’s needs must be carried out by the Local Authority (normally by an educational psychologist) before a statement can be written. This takes place under s. 323 Education Act 1996 and is known as a “statutory assessment”. Local Authorities can also refuse to do this assessment following a request from a parent, which is known as a “refusal to assess” and comes before the statementing process can begin.

A statement takes place under s. 324 Education Act 1996, and the various rights of appeal are set out in ss. 325-326 and 328A.

How does an appeal work?

A parent or guardian of a child can appeal against any of the following:

  • The Local Authority decides not to do a statutory assessment of the child’s needs (refusal to assess).
  • Following a statutory assessment, the Local Authority refuses to issue a statement (refusal to statement).
  • The Local Authority issues a statement but there is a disagreement with any/all of Parts 2, 3 and 4 (P234 appeal).
  • The Local Authority amends a statement following an annual review (P234 appeal).
  • The Local Authority stops the statement following an annual review (cease to maintain).

The appeal is to the First-Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), or SENDIST. SENDIST give both the Local Authority and the parents the ability to submit evidence and then call a hearing, where the parents and the Local Authority must present their case. The Tribunal is then able to decide on whether the Local Authority is correct or not, and can order them to reverse their decision.

What is changing?

The Children and Families Bill, currently going through Parliament, makes provision for Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. This is a great idea that should remove the disparity between education, health and social care – but at the moment, there are a lot of issues with it that will make things worse for children with special educational needs and their families, not better. Thankfully, at the moment, consultations and select committees are ongoing.

Thoughts on Lucy Meadows

I think by now, everyone knows the story. Lucy Meadows, a transgender teacher, killed herself this week. There have been many words written about why – a lot of that blame at the door of Richard Littlejohn, who wrote a scathing and hurtful article, entitled “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job”. In Littlejohn’s standard style, there is a tone of disbelief and sarcasm used to mask comments that are discriminatory – and wrong.

I’m not going to lie. The Daily Mail still turns up on my kitchen table every day, and I try and read it, every day. Sometimes (as much as I hate to admit it), Littlejohn makes me laugh, but more often, he makes me angry. I despair at the world when I read his columns, twice a week, because I know how many people think just like he does.

I have a fundamental belief that the press should be free to express an opinion, however damaging that opinion is. That belief is in what is often mistakenly attributed to Voltaire, a simple phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” However, much has been spoken of how Littlejohn’s column specifically, and the press as a whole, participated in a “monstering” of Lucy Meadows, and that is something quite different.

You only need to look at the incomparable David Allen Green’s resource page on Lucy Meadows to see that Lucy Meadows’ initial transition got tabloid press coverage. Leveson and privacy arguments be damned, there is no reason for a teacher, who wants to make a transition from one sex to the other, to be entirely savaged by the press upon doing so. As much as I am excited and relieved to see the progress on equal marriage we are making as a society, it seems to be an acceptable position to be transphobic, and that shames our society. (I still remember reading the story of Kate Craig-Wood as a personal inspiration.)

There is, at this moment in time, and in all fairness, no evidence that Littlejohn – or indeed any other journalist – made (or contributed to) Lucy Meadows kill herself, which is why I feel that the “fire Richard Littlejohn” petitions are wide of the mark. He was simply the better known of the columnists to savage her. As for the press pack that were camped outside the school and Miss Meadows’ home, I feel they are the lowest of the low. But despite our best efforts, I’m not sure we can change any of this.

It’s important to remember, alongside all the fury, that a committed teacher who just longed to be herself has lost her life. Our fury, for now, would be better chanelled at raising awareness of trans* issues – @TransMediaWatch are doing a great job here – and trying to ensure that everyone who needs it has the right support.

The Daily Mail will never fire Richard Littlejohn. Stop wasting your time. Instead, if you’re in that position, ever, The Samaritans or any number of other organisations can help. If you’re lucky enough not to be, let’s stand together and fight for better mental health care, press freedom that doesn’t destroy lives, and people like Lucy Meadows.

In defence of representation

I’ve seen a lot of opinions tonight about the case of Frances Andrade, who killed herself after giving evidence in an abuse trial against her former choir director. I’ll be the first person to say this sounds like an absolute tragedy: a case of a talented woman who took her own life.

Here’s an excerpt from the BBC News article about the trial:

The judge said the barrister who questioned her could not be criticised.

Speaking at the end of the trial, Judge Martin Rutland praised all counsel for their conduct in the case, including Kate Blackwell QC, defending Michael Brewer, who cross-examined Mrs Andrade.

He told her: “You did your job, in that you put what had to be put to the witness.”

Speaking about the case, chairman of the Bar Maura McGowan QC said: “There is sometimes a very difficult balance to strike between protecting vulnerable witnesses and properly testing evidence so that juries are able to make informed decisions.
“We must always do everything we can to ensure we get that balance right.”

I had an exchange with Sean O’Neil, the Crime Editor of The Times, on Twitter:

Court reports for this case are not yet available, but I’ll just offer my opinion here: entering into court, especially as a victim of an abuse case, no matter how long ago, is a horrific experience for anyone. But it is simply not the case that barristers should be restricted – barristers even by reputation are expected to be combative and forceful. They are, after all, defending someone’s liberty, and surely everyone would expect a robust defence.

You would expect, in any case, the Barrister acting in their own client’s defence to act if they felt that the questioning was in a manner that was unacceptable.

It seems that the real issue in this case was not the Barrister in question. From a Huffington Post article, a statement from Mrs Andrade’s son:

“She was forced to relive the many times Michael Brewer had sexually abused her as a child both to the police on multiple occasions and in court to a hostile party.

“Having been heavily advised by the police not to receive any form of therapy until the end of the case (a process of almost two years) she was forced to cope on her own with only the support of her family and very close friends.

“This meant that even after several attempts at her own life she did not get the help she needed.

“The state of mental healthcare in this country needs reform, even upon trying to get help she was told by those she turned to that they were not qualified to deal with her. In the end, during her testimony and for the brief time afterwards, RASASC (the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre) were the only ones to provide real help to her, only too late.

Surely once again it is the mental health provision in this country that should be under attack, not the actions of Barristers acting for people they have every right – and in some cases, every obligation – to defend? This is a tragic case, but it is no reason to attack the very foundations of our justice system.

On Ladele, McFarlane and equal protection

There appears to be a fundamental conflict between two of the protected characteristics, religion or belief on the one hand and sexual orientation on the other. Discuss the ways in which parliament, the courts and tribunals have attempted to resolve this conflict through legislation and case law. In your opinion, have they managed to provide equivalent protection to the two characteristics? Give reasons for your answer.

Completed as an essay for my Employment Law module, February 2013.

The Equality Act 2010 provides a number of protected characteristics (at s. 4) including sexual orientation, and religion or belief. Sexual orientation is defined in s. 12(1) as:

a person’s sexual orientation towards —

(a) persons of the same sex,

(b) persons of the opposite sex, or

(c) persons of either sex.

Religion and belief are defined in s. 10(1) and s. 10(2):

(1) Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.

(2) Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief.

The inclusion of these characteristics allows protection of a person from discrimination (either directly or indirectly) due to religion and belief, or sexual orientation. However, there is a fundamental conflict between the two as members of some religions feel that same-sex relationships are in conflict with their beliefs.

Since protection against discrimination due to sexual orientation was enshrined in law in the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, this has included exemptions for organised religions. Regulation 7 stated that the Regulations do not apply where employment is for purposes of an organised religion, and the employer can apply a requirement that an employee is of a particular sexual orientation either to ‘comply with the doctrines of the religion’ or ‘to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of … the religion’s followers’.

In the case of R (Amicus) v. Secretary of State for Trade and Industry1, Richards J considered this in light of EU Directive 2000/78 (the ‘Employment Equality Framework Directive’) and Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and held that the provisions were adequate as long as they were given a narrow construction as stated in the Regulations.

Although this may appear at first glance to be unequal protection between the two rights, it has been recognised by Parliament in the writing of the Regulations (and subsequent legislation) that such an exemption is required to allow the continued functioning of organised religions in the UK.

The Equality Act 2006 consolidated previous legislation, establishing the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, and prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of both religion and belief and sexual orientation. The latter part of the Act was enacted in the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

The Equality Act 2010 aimed to codify previous Acts and Regulations, and superseded employment-specific legislation including the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. Aware of the conflict arising between the two areas and the strong views on the organised religion exemption, in 2010 the Government Equalities Office stated2:

The Equality Bill will not change the existing legal position regarding churches and employment. It clarifies the existing law to ensure a balance is maintained between the rights of people to manifest their religion and the right of employees not to be discriminated against because of a protected characteristic such as sexual orientation.

Schedule 23(1) of the Act follows the provision set out in the 2003 Regulations of providing exemption to organised religions. However, there is no provision in the Act for a conflict between religion or belief and sexual orientation outside the employment setting of an organised religion. Such a conflict arose in two cases.

The first, Ladele v. London Borough of Islington, concerned Ms Ladele, a Registrar who refused to perform civil partnership ceremonies due to her Christian beliefs. The Employment Tribunal decision was overturned at appeal; the EAT found3 that there had been no discrimination against Ms Ladele.

On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Lord Neuberger MR considered Article 9 ECHR, and (at [54]) referred to Lord Hoffman’s judgment at [50] in R (SB) v. Governors of Denbigh High School4, ‘Article 9 does not require that one should be allowed to manifest one’s religion at any time and place of one’s own choosing.’

Lord Neuberger MR further stated at [73]: ‘[h]owever much sympathy one may have … with Ms Ladele … the legislature has decided that requirements of a modern liberal democracy … include outlawing discrimination … on grounds of sexual orientation, subject only to very limited exceptions.’ The Court dismissed the appeal, finding (at [69]) that the prohibition of discrimination in the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 ‘takes precedence over any right which a person would otherwise have by virtue of his or her religious belief or faith, to practice discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.’

The second case concerned Mr McFarlane, a Christian employed to provide relationship counselling services, who refused to provide psycho-sexual therapy to same-sex couples. Disciplinary procedures were brought against him and he was dismissed. In the Employment Tribunal, he argued that he had been discriminated against with regard to Article 9 ECHR. The EAT dismissed his appeal5.

The Court of Appeal, in a judgment by Laws LJ6, held that they were bound by their decision in Ladele and the case could not be distinguished. In the most senior Court in England and Wales, the interpretation of the Equality Act(s) was that discrimination on the basis of religion or belief against someone due to their sexual orientation could not be sanctioned in law, aside from the specific case of organised religions already considered.

Both Ladele and McFarlane appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Dismissing the appeal in Ladele, the judgment stated that the relevant comparator was a Registrar with no religious objection to same-sex unions, and that in attempting to achieve its aims, the local authority acted proportionately in pursuit of a legitimate aim.

Dismissing the appeal in McFarlane, at [63], the Court stated:

The [2003 and 2007] Regulations struck a balance … between the right to manifest religious beliefs and the rights of individuals not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation. It was a matter falling within the margin of appreciation … under Article 9 exactly how that balance should be struck.

And at [109]:

… for the Court the most important factor to be taken into account is that the employer’s action was intended to secure the implementation of its policy of providing a service without discrimination.

When considering whether the characteristics of religion and belief and sexual orientation have equivalent protection, it is first important to take into account the scope of the protection provided. The protection afforded to religion and belief as a protected characteristic is wide-ranging: following a body of case law, it includes lack of any belief, a wide range of belief systems (for example, spiritualism7), and philosophical belief (such as climate change)8. Through various statutes culminating in the Equality Act 2010, Parliament have been careful to ensure that the exemption against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation for organised religions has been protected. This appears to provide unequal protection between the two characteristics – it could be argued that organised religions have been given protection at the expense of the protection for sexual orientation. However, it has been decided (per Amicus) that this is lawful, as long as the exemption is not abused.

The decisions in McFarlane and Ladele should be considered alongside the jointly heard cases of Eweida, a British Airways employee found to be discriminated against due to her employer’s refusal to allow her to wear a visible cross as a symbol of her faith, and Chaplin, a nurse who was restricted from wearing a visible cross on health and safety grounds. The decision in Eweida shows that where the manifestation of religious belief does not cause a health and safety issue (as in Chaplin) or does not discriminate against others, as in McFarlane and Ladele, it should be protected. The decision in Eweida adds further strength to the protection awarded on the basis of religion or belief.

Conversely, the ECtHR upheld the decisions of the British courts in the cases of McFarlane and Ladele. It is apparent that the Courts decided the characteristics of religion or belief and sexual orientation (and by inference other characteristics) should be given equal protection – with the simple caveat that people with one characteristic cannot act in a discriminatory way towards the other.

The decisions of both the British courts and the ECtHR seems to be based on a fair principle – where one person, possessing a protected characteristic, discriminates against another, the discriminator cannot use their own protected characteristic as a defence. Per the comments of Lord Neuberger MR in Ladele, in a ‘modern liberal democracy [aiming to outlaw discrimination]’, the aim should be to promote equality between protected characteristics by outlawing discrimination, whatever the reason for it in the first place.

If the British courts or the ECtHR had made the opposite decision in Ladele and McFarlene, that would have been unequal protection by placing religion or belief on a higher pedestal than sexual orientation. The decisions in these cases are a further welcome move towards equal protection being afforded to the two characteristics, as Parliament expressed an intention to do with the passing of the Equality Act 2010 and the preceding legislation.

Bibliography

  • Doyle, B., Casserley, C., Cheetham, S., Gay, V., Hyams, O (2010), Equality and Discrimination: The New Law, Jordans Publishing Limited, Bristol.
  • MYTH-Busting: the Equality Bill and Religion, undated, Government Equalities Office
  • IDS (2010), The Equality Act 2010: Employment Law Guide, Incomes Data Services Limited, London.
  • Wadham, J., Robinson, A., Ruebain, D., Uppal, S. (Eds.) (2012), Blackstone’s Guide to The Equality Act 2010, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Why are four Christians accusing their employees of discrimination?, 4th September 2012, BBC News
  1. R (on the application of Amicus – MSF section and others) v. Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2004] EWHC 860 (Admin)
  2. ‘MYTH-BUSTING: the Equality Bill and Religion’
  3. Ladele v. London Borough of Islington [2009] All ER (D) 100 (Jan)
  4. R (on the application of Begum) v. Headteacher and Governors of Denbigh High School sub nom R (on the application of SB) v. Governors of Denbigh High School [2005] UKHL 15
  5. McFarlane v. Relate Avon Ltd [2010] IRLR 196
  6. McFarlane v. Relate Avon Ltd [2010] IRLR 872
  7. Power v. Greater Manchester Police Authority [2011] EWCA Civ 534
  8. Grainger PLC v. Nicholson [2010] IRLR 4