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Race Discrimination

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Was a tribunal wrong to hold that the Institute of Actuaries discriminated on nationality grounds against a British student by offering two annual opportunities to pass examinations, when the corresponding Indian Institute offered more opportunities for the equivalent exam?

Yes, held the EAT in Davda v Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

The tribunal upheld claims for direct and indirect race discrimination by the Respondent as a qualification awarding body; it granted exemptions for qualifications of the Indian Actuarial Institute (IAI), which permitted its students more annual chances to pass qualifying exams. There was some evidence that the IAI did not let British citizens join it.

The EAT overturned the tribunal decisions. On direct discrimination, the treatment found was by the IAI, not the Respondent. IAI membership was not an appropriate proxy on which to base discrimination by nationality, they did not correspond exactly. The EAT dismissed that claim as realistically, it had to fail.

On indirect discrimination, UK nationals, even if unable to join the IAI, might’ve been able to get exemptions from other actuarial bodies; the pool for comparison was wrong. The decision was unsafe, but there might be more than one outcome. The EAT remitted the indirect discrimination claim to a new tribunal.

Thanks to Ed McFarlane for preparing this case summary.