Across the country there are 94 “approved premises” for men and six for women, reflecting the overall 19:1 ratio of male:female prisoners. However, the smaller number of hostels for women offenders means they are more likely to be located farther from their home areas.
In R (Coll) v Justice Secretary  UKSC 40, the Supreme Court over-turned earlier decisions of the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal and held that this disadvantage entails direct sex discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010. It further ruled that the next step will be consideration of whether this can be justified under paragraph 26 of Schedule 3 to that Act.
Oliver Sanders QC acted for the Justice Secretary alone in the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal and with Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Court Chambers and Katherine Apps of Littleton Chambers in the Supreme Court, instructed by the Government Legal Department. The Claimant / Appellant was represented by Dinah Rose QC and (in the Supreme Court) Iain Steele of Blackstone Chambers, instructed by Samuel Genen of Lound, Mulrenan and Jefferies Solicitors.