Case details

Naeem (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0005

Case summary


Whether it is necessary to show that a protected characteristic was the "material cause" of a difference in treatment, in order for a claimant to demonstrate that a policy is indirectly discriminatory pursuant to s.19(2) of the Equality Act 2010.


The appellant, an imam, was employed on a sessional (as opposed to a direct) basis as a Chaplain at HMP Bullingdon from 2001. Prior to 2002 the respondent had a policy that non-Christian Chaplains would not be directly employed because there were not enough prisoners of non-Christian faith to justify such employment. The appellant was directly employed at HMP Bullingdon from 2004 onwards, but on starting his direct employment, the respondent did not take into account his prior experience as a sessional Chaplain in calculating his seniority. As a result of this policy being applied generally, Muslim Chaplains have lower average pay than Christian Chaplains. The appellant made a claim at the Employment Tribunal, which concluded that he had established prima facie indirect discrimination, but that this was justified. The Employment Appeals Tribunal considered that the appellant had not established prima facie indirect discrimination. This finding was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Judgment appealed

[2015] EWCA Civ 1264



Mohammad Naeem


Secretary of State for Justice



Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge

Hearing start date

14 Nov 2016

Hearing finish date

15 Nov 2016

Watch hearing
14 Nov 2016 Morning session Afternoon session
15 Nov 2016 Morning session Afternoon session