Bah v UK: on immigration, discrimination and worrisome reasoning

This post was co-authored by Lourdes Peroni and Alexandra Timmer

The Court recently ruled on the case of Ms. Bah, a Sierra Leonean woman with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, who asserted that she was discriminated against in the allocation of social housing. The Court’s reasoning in Bah v. UK gives ample food for thought. We find two aspects of the Court’s reasoning especially worrisome: the Court’s explicit references to the need of a ‘comparator’ and the Court’s use of the ‘immutability-criterion’.  Though these are familiar concepts within discrimination law, the Court has thankfully largely steered clear of them through the years. With this post we question the Court’s present recourse to these concepts. The comparator-approach and the immutability-criterion are potentially harmful and, moreover, we are of the opinion that the Court could have reached the same decision without relying so heavily on these concepts. Continue reading