Justification of Article 14 Discrimination

May 16th, 2019 by James Goudie KC

In the revised benefit cap case, R (DA) v SoS for Work and Pensions (2019) UKSC 21, the Supreme Court said, with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“the UNCRC”), that:-

(1) At present, it forms no part of our domestic law: paragraphs 67, 94 and 178;

(2) However, where relevant, the content of an International Convention, in particular one relating to human rights, such as the UNCRC, should inform interpretation of the ECHR: paragraphs 71 and 94;

(3) It follows that, when relevant, the content of the UNCRC “can inform inquiry” into an alleged violation of Article 14 of the ECHR, when taken with one of the ECHR’s substantive rights, such as Article 8 of the ECHR: paragraph 72,

Article 3 of the UNCRC provides that in all actions concerning children, including those taken by administrative authorities, the “best interests of the child” shall be a primary consideration. As to what the best interests of the child encompass, there are three dimensions:-

(a) a substantive right of the child to have his or her best interests assessed as a primary consideration when different interests are being considered in order to reach a decision on the issue at stake;

(b) an interpretative principle;

(c) a rule of procedure that, whenever a decision is to be made that will affect an identified group of children, the decision-making process must include an evaluation of the possible impact of the decision on them.

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