Oliver Sanders acted for the Justice Secretary in this judicial review which challenged the availability and distribution of probation hostels for women (aka approved premises).
Across the country there are 94 approved premises for men and six for women. The overall number of places for men and women corresponds with the prisoner population which is roughly 95% male and 5% female, but the smaller number of hostels for women means they are more widely spread geographically and more likely to be further from the homes of female prisoners. The challenge was brought under section 29 of the Equality Act 2010 by a life sentence prisoner called Isobel Coll. At first instance, Mr Justice Cranston found that there was no unlawful discrimination and the Court of Appeal (the Master of the Rolls, Elias LJ and Sharp LJ) dismissed the claimant’s appeal in a decision handed down on 31 March 2015.