R (o.a.o. Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for International Development (in substitution for the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary)  UKSC 32 On appeal from  EWCA Civ 81
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan appealed against the decision in Steinfeld & Anor v Secretary of State for Education  EWCA Civ 81, arguing that the bar on civil partnership for opposite sex couples is in breach of Article 14 (discrimination) ECHR together with Article 8 (respect for private and family life): brief summary here. They sought judicial review of the respondent’s continuing decision not to make changes to the CPA to allow different-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships. Today, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal. Lord Kerr gave the judgment with which the other Justices – Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed, and Lady Black – all agreed.
The court rejected the respondent’s argument that European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law requires a wide margin of appreciation in relation to the timing of legislative change to recognise different forms of relationship; and that a significant measure of discretion should be accorded to Parliament in its decision as to when the timing of legislative change in the field of civil partnerships should occur.
Although a measure of latitude should be permitted to Parliament, the concept of a “margin of appreciation” as applied by the ECtHR has no application in domestic law – a national court must confront the interference with an ECHR right and decide whether it is justified [27-28]. In as much as there is a margin of discretion analogous to that applied by the ECtHR, in cases of unequal treatment on grounds of sexual orientation, the margin is narrow .