April 7th, 2020 by James Goudie KC

In R (Drexler) v Leicestershire County Council (2020) EWCA 502 the Court of Appeal has unanimously dismissed am appeal against a Judgment of Swift J dismissing an ECHR challenge to a Council Cabinet decision to amend its SEN Home to School/College Transport Policy. Swift J did not (para75) err in applying the “manifestly without reasonable foundation” test or a conventional proportionality test. The issue was as to alleged unlawful age discrimination, contrary to Article 14 of the ECHR.

Singh LJ said that there were three “important principles” which had potential relevance to the case, related to each other.

The first (para 54) is the principle of the “margin of appreciation”, which will vary according to the circumstances and the subject matter.

The second (para 55) is that not all grounds of discrimination are treated in the same way under Article 14. Some, notably race and sex, call for “more stringent scrutiny” than others. Those involving less scrutiny include age : para 78.

The third (para 56) is that the Courts recognise that they are not well placed to question judgments in relation to public expenditure. Saving public money is a legitimate aim: para 84.


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