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Positive Discrimination In Housing Allocation

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The Supreme Court has ruled that positive discrimination in housing allocation can be permitted in certain circumstances.

In this case, a charitable housing organisation and Hackney Borough Council were challenged in Court for prioritising the allocation of social housing to Orthodox Jews.

Under the Equality Act 2010, people cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of their religion or belief. Here, the Claimants had missed out on being allocated social housing because they were not Orthodox Jews. The Claimants were therefore being discriminated against because of their religion & beliefs.

S.158 of the Equality Act does however permit positive discriminatory action to be taken in order to alleviate disadvantage.

As the claim progressed through the Courts, each Court agreed that the housing association’s policy fell under the remit of s.158 and as such they deemed it to be legal.

It was found that Jewish people face real social and economic disadvantage in the UK – and as a result they are less likely to own a home. This type of positive discrimination prioritising Jewish people was deemed to be exactly why s.158 was included in the Act – to enable legitimate, charitable aims to be reached.