Wednesday 22 March 2006


In Brown v London Borough of Croydon, the EAT has reaffirmed that it is not necessary for tribunals to adopt the traditional two-stage approach when considering discrimination claims.

Traditionally, tribunals have been expected to consider the separate questions of (1) was there less favourable treatment of the Claimant? and, if yes, (2) what is the reason why the Claimant was treated less favourably?

Until Shamoon v Chief Constable of Northern Ireland was decided by the House of Lords in 2003, it was an error of law (and thus, capable of appeal) if the tribunal did not identifty, and answer, these two questions in turn. In Shamoon, the House of Lords said it was not always necessary to ask and answer the two questions, and in appropriate cases (usually with a hypothetical comparator) it was permissible for tribunals simply to ask, 'why was the Claimant treated that way?'

Notwithstanding Shamoon, in Igen v Wong the two-stage test was reaffirmed. Now, the EAT has restated that it is not compulsory to adhere rigidly to the two-stage test, and that in an appropriate case the traditional sequential analysis is not necessary.

Brown v London Borough of Croydon

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