Odhams Walk Residents' Management Limited v Westminster City Council

[2009] EWHC 1712 (Admin)

13th July 2009

High Court


The case was a judicial review challenge by a local Tenants’ Management Organisation (TMO) in Covent Garden to Westminster City Council's policy of not providing TMOs with family-sized residential accommodation in future from the Council's own housing stock, which TMOs could provide to residential caretaking staff as part of their employment package. The challenge was based on arguments that the Council’s policy constituted unlawful indirect discrimination against various groups. It was also contended that the Council had breached a statutory general gender equality duty to which public authorities are required to adhere. The Court held that there was no indirect discrimination in recruitment or employment of residential caretaking staff by the Council pursuant to the policy, whether presently or in the future, as the Council did not have any relevant employment relationship with the TMO’s staff. Therefore, the TMO was free to make whatever employment arrangements it thought fit, whether that be in line with the Council’s policy or outside it and there was no sense it which it could be said that the Council policy compelled the TMO to proceed in a manner which constituted unlawful indirect discrimination. The Court also rejected the contention that there was a breach of the statutory general gender equality duty because, in the circumstances, the TMO had failed to advance any clear positive case on the issue for the Council to answer.

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