In the joined cases of Rutherford and A, the Court of Appeal has today held that Regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 – the ‘bedroom tax’ – discriminates unlawfully against (i) the families of disabled children who need a room in their house for overnight carers, and (ii) domestic violence sufferers who are part of a ‘sanctuary’ scheme.

UPDATE 28/1/16 - The Supreme Court has today confirmed that MA, Rutherford and A will all be heard together on 29th February 2016 - 2nd March 2016. 


Rutherford and Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] EWCA Civ 29  judgment

In both cases before the Court, there was in the Court of Appeal’s view an inadequate basis for distinguishing the ratio of Burnip v Birmingham City Council & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 629, [2013] PTSR 117 [see Rutherford and A , §53, §74].[2016] EWCA Civ 29

Additionally, regarding children who need a room in their house for overnight carers, it was ‘very difficult to justify’ treating children worse than adults (adults can get an extra room for an overnight carer) [see Rutherford and A , §73], especially as the Secretary of State has argued that other aspects of the bedroom tax are designed to give children especially advantageous treatment.

The Court of Appeal consequently accepted that the discriminatory treatment was manifestly without reasonable foundation.

Allowing the appeals of Rutherford and  A , the Court has granted the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

A PSED argument in A , the ‘sanctuary’ case, failed, but A has been given permission to cross-appeal to the Supreme Court.

See also: 27th January 2016 - Court of Appeal Rules that "Bedroom Tax" is unlawful - CPAG Press Release

The Rutherfords are represented by Richard Drabble QC and GCN's  Tom Royston, instructed by Child Poverty Action Group .

A is represented by Karon Monaghan QC, Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Katie O’Byrne, instructed by Hopkin Murray Beskine.


Bedroom Tax appeals


Tom Royston has worked with CPAG  on the Rutherford bedroom tax and Winder Council Tax Reduction cases and has a particular interest in work which approaches welfare rights cases from a public law angle. He also specialises in public and private law discrimination claims, immigration and other areas of social welfare law.

People's Rights Through Justice

Garden Court North chambers is based in Manchester with coverage throughout the UK.  Chambers has a strong commitment to publicly funded work and to offering representation to those disadvantaged by discrimination and inequality or with multiple and complex needs. This ethos underpins our emphasis upon civil liberties and human rights based work in all the areas in which we practice.