Clive Sheldon KC and Karen Steyn KC successful in Supreme Court benefit cap challenge


The Supreme Court, by a majority of 3:2, has today found that the ‘benefit cap’ on housing benefit is lawful. The appellants had argued that the cap unlawfully discriminated against women in relation to their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. It was common ground that the cap would affect more women than men.

The Government argued that the cap was nonetheless justified since (a) it set a reasonable limit on the extent to which non-working families would be supported from public funds, (b) it incentivised non-working individuals of working age to find work and (c) it was necessary to achieve savings in public expenditure. The majority of the Supreme Court accepted these arguments.

Clive Sheldon KC and Karen Steyn KC appeared for the Secretary of State, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor.

Read the judgment here and the Supreme Court’s press summary here.

Related press: read here.