Who? Clare Collier, senior lawyer at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Why is she in the news? Acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which intervened in a challenge brought by several disabled claimants, to the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund. Overturning the High Court’s earlier decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government had not given proper consideration to issues raised by the Equality Act. Unless the government revisits the decision, more than 19,000 severely disabled people will continue to receive support from the fund.
Thoughts on the case? ‘This case was particularly important not only because of the guidance that the Court of Appeal has now given on how public bodies should demonstrate “due regard” for equality considerations, but because of its facts. The consequence of the decision to close the fund could have prevented some ILF recipients from living in the community altogether. It is now hoped that the government will reconsider how best to provide support for these people, and others who are not currently entitled to ILF support.’
Dealing with the media: ‘It was great to see a TV camera outside court capture the moment when some of those affected by the outcome heard they had won.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘To help people resolve their problems. The attraction of public law was the ability potentially in one case to resolve issues that affect many people.’
Career high: ‘Each win creates a buzz. I couldn’t single one out. Today it’s this case.’
Career low: ‘Making an application for an injunction before a district judge in the Principle Registry of the Family Division as a trainee. I was totally unprepared, got a very growly judge, and although I got the order, I burst into tears in the ladies afterwards.’