Case details

In the matter of an application by Siobhan Mclaughlin for Judicial Review (AP) (Northern Ireland)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0035

Case summary

Issue(s)

Whether section 39A(1) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 which provides for payment of a Widowed Parent’s Allowance is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights read with Article 8 and/or Article 1 of Protocol 1.

Facts

The appellant lived with her partner (Mr Adams) as man and wife for 23 years until his death in January 2014. During their 23-year relationship the appellant and her partner had four children together, all of whom lived with them. A key component of the family income is derived from state benefits. The appellant claimed Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance but was refused by the respondent because she was neither married to nor a civil partner of Mr Adams at the date of his death. Both these state benefits are contributory and are based on payments by a deceased from occupational income and payable under the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992.

The appellant applied for judicial review of the refusal. The judge granted her application, and made a Declaration of Incompatibility that section 39A(1) was incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights read with Article 8, in that it unlawfully discriminated against her based on her marital status. The Court of Appeal overturned the judge’s decision.

Judgment appealed

[2016] NICA 53

Parties

Appellant(s)

Siobhan McLaughlin

Respondent(s)

Department for Communities

Appeal

Justices

Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lady Black

Hearing start date

30 Apr 2018

Hearing finish date

30 Apr 2018

Watch hearing
30 Apr 2018 Morning session Afternoon session