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High Court rejects discrimination claim by Jewish Human Rights Watch

Published on 28 June 2016

THE High Court of Justice has today rejected a claim that a resolution passed by Leicester City Council was discriminatory and in breach of the 2010 Equality Act.

Jewish Human rights Watch (JHRW) had sought a Judicial Review of decisions taken by three local authorities –  Leicester City Council,  Gwynedd Council, and the City and County of Swansea – to boycott goods produced in illegal settlements in the West Bank.

JHRW alleged the decisions were anti-Semitic and that the councils failed to have any regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty and their procurement duties as local authorities.

The High Court has dismissed the claims, finding that the moving of a council resolution was not the same as making policy, and therefore did not trigger the public equality duty.

In a judgement handed down by Lord Justice Simon, it also found that although there was no legal requirement on it to do so, Leicester City Council did in fact give due regard to this duty as part of the debate before the motion was passed.

Lord Justice Simon concludes: “The evidence is clear: the Council resolutions did not override, or even affect, the lawful exercise of its public functions in relation to public supply or works contracts, and no contracts or potential contracts were affected by the resolutions.”

Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “This judgement confirms that councillors have the right to shine a spotlight on a legitimate area of public debate and to discuss issues that are of concern to their electorate.

JHRW has been instructed to pay all of the legal costs incurred by the three councils.