Aileen McColgan KC successful in judicial review concerning a local authority’s PSED duties as regards a transgender young person with an EHCP


The Administrative Court has handed down judgment in R (AI) -v- London Borough of Wandsworth and Secretary of State for Education [2023] EWHC 2088 (Admin), refusing the claimant’s claim that Wandsworth had failed to comply with its PSED duties (imposed by s149 Equality Act 2010) towards a young transgender person in connection with the delivery of his EHC Plan (issued under the Children and Families Act 2014) .

The claimant, a transgender young person, argued that Wandsworth had failed to comply with the PSED in circumstances in which he alleged that his educational placements continually broke down in part because of incidents of misgendering. He claimed that the, had the Local Authority undertaken enquiries required by the PSED, it would have had a better understanding as to why the placements had broken down. 

Aileen McColgan KC, for Wandsworth, successfully argued that S42 CAFA imposed an absoluteduty generated by the specific needs of the child or young person in question, which duty did not vary as a result of any protected characteristic, and that separate consideration of the s149 PSED was not required. She further argued, and it was accepted by the Court, that there was no evidence that misgendering was a significant cause of the various placements arranged under the EHCP, and that Wandsworth had made persistent efforts to find suitable placements whose breakdown was due in part to the claimant’s behaviour.

Claim dismissed.