In its 2012-2013 Annual Report the UK Anti Discrimination
Commission (the Commission) noted that a small number of their
decisions had been subject to challenge in the Charity Tribunal and
in the Courts. The Commission's Report detailed one very
significant and prolonged matter that has been resolved in the last
year. We provide you with a summary of this matter below.
Catholic Care, run by the Diocese of Leeds, has operated an
adoption service for over 100 years. The organisation only screened
and placed children with heterosexual adoptive parents, excluding
same sex couples from consideration.
In 2008, under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation)
Regulations 2007 (UK) and later under the Equality Act
2010 (UK) such a practice became unlawful.
Catholic Care attempted take advantage of some limited
exemptions to the legislation which were extended to religious
organisations, by amending its Memorandum of Association to specify
that it would only place children with heterosexual adoptive
parents, so as to constitute a "'Nazarene family'
of mother, father and child'".
The Charity Commission decided not to allow the proposed changes
to the Catholic Care's Memorandum of Association. Catholic Care
appealed to the First Tier Tribunal and then the Upper
On 2 November 2012 Sales J of the Upper Tribunal delivered his
judgement, upholding the First Tier Tribunal's decision.
Justice Sales held that Catholic Care "had not provided
sufficiently weighty reasons to justify the discrimination against
same sex adoptive parents."
This is a very timely decision for us, particularly in light of
the proposed consolidation of anti-discrimination laws and
exemptions for religious organisations in Australia, as discussed
last newsletter. It is also interesting, and relevant,
considering that in June this year the Tasmanian Parliament passed
a Bill entitling couples in a "relationship registered
under the Relationship Act", including same sex
relationships, to adopt children. This follows similar legislation
passed in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Western
Australia over the last decade.
There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
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