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George Thomas appears in Court of Appeal guideline case on appointment of Equality Act 2010 assessors

22nd July 2014

Last week the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Cary v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
The case is the first time the Court of Appeal has specifically addressed the appropriate process for the parties and the County Court to adopt when appointing one or more assessors in discrimination claims brought under the Equality Act 2010.
George successfully argued that it was not a mandatory requirement that a potential assessor must have specific expertise in relation to the protected characteristic on which the claim for discrimination is based.  Rather the test for the Court to determine (whether identifying a potential assessor or determining the challenge brought by a party to their appointment) is whether the expert has sufficient expertise to advise the Court on the particular matters in issue in that litigation.
Although the case relates to alleged discrimination prior to the Equality Act 2010, the Judgment concludes, under the heading “The Future” with important guidance as to how the parties and the court should go about the appointment of an assessor under the Equality Act 2010.  The timetable must ensure that future trials are not disrupted by late objections to the identity of the assessor.
The case has been remitted to the County Court for the trial on the merits.


George Thomas appeared on behalf of the Commissioner of Police.  James Laddie QC of Matrix Chambers appeared on behalf of the Appellant, and Karen Monaghan QC, also of Matrix Chambers, provided written submissions on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

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