1 Pump Court cleared of discrimination at appeal

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a wannabe pupil whose future chambers refused to defer his pupillage after he fell ill was not discriminated against.

Meurig Iestyn Horton was offered a pupillage at 1 Pump Court Chambers, but when he became ill, which in his case was classed as a disability, and requested to start the pupillage a year later, the chambers refused.

The central question under consideration was whether an applicant for pupillage was an applicant for membership of a trade organisation within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 13, and whether an application for pupillage was an application for membership of chambers.

Lord Justice Gibson concluded that as a matter of ordinary language, a pupil in a set of barristers chambers was not a member of that set and that Mr Horton, in applying for pupillage with the chambers, was not applying for membership of the chambers.

Mr Justice Laddie, dissenting, said that to the outside world, the pupil was part of the chambers team. He would be bound by the same rules of confidentiality and good behaviour as bound all the tenants in the set.

Permission has been granted to appeal to the House of Lords.