News & Views
Catholic Care awaits leave to appeal to Upper Tribunal
Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) has appealed the refusal of the First Tier Tribunal (Charity) of permission to appeal against the decision of the Charity Commission on 21 July 2010 to amend the objects clause in its memorandum of association.
The charity had originally sought the amendment so that it could refuse to offer adoption services to same sex couples.
Our story ‘Catholic Care forced to abandon exemption hopes’1 contains links to all the previous stages of this long-running saga.
On 7 June, the First Tier Tribunal (Charity) rejected Catholic Care's latest appeal, stating that it could not identify any ‘errors of law’ in its judgement. At that stage, the charity had one month to ask the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery) directly for permission to appeal that decision.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice confirmed that the charity has gone ahead and made the application. If leave to appeal is granted, it will be the charity’s fourth appeal.
Sarah Clune of law firm Stone King told Caritas: “An interesting point to note is that in its judgment of 26 April 2011, the Tribunal referred to the Public Sector Equality Duty (s.149 Equality Act 2010, which has since come into force), which imposes a duty on public bodies to pay due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity.
Whilst not relevant to the Tribunal’s decision, the Tribunal stated that even if the charity were permitted to discriminate in reliance upon s.139 of the Equality Act 2010, the duty is likely to impact, in due course, on the willingness of local authorities to work with a charity which discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation in respect of adoption placements."