The Court of Appeal has allowed an application for judicial review by four single mothers, who challenged an aspect of the Universal Credit regulations which resulted in them experiencing significant fluctuations in benefit payments and the loss of a key work allowance when their monthly pay days fell on a non-banking day.
Jenni Richards QC and Steve Broach acted for three of the claimants, instructed by the Child Poverty Action Group. Jenni Richards QC also acted for the fourth claimant, leading Tom Royston of Garden Court North and instructed by Leigh Day.
Underhill, Irwin and Rose LJJ all held that this aspect of the regulations was irrational in the Wednesbury sense. Rose LJ stated at  that ‘The threshold for establishing irrationality is very high, but it is not insuperable. This case is, in my judgment, one of the rare instances where the SSWP’s refusal to put in place a solution to this very specific problem is so irrational that I have concluded that the threshold is met because no reasonable SSWP would have struck the balance in that way.’
The Court of Appeal’s judgment should benefit up to 85,000 Universal Credit claimants who would otherwise have suffered detriment under the regulations.