Hounga v. Allen
Mimi Zou and James Goudkamp, ‘Hounga v Allen’ (2015) 29 Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law pp.56–58.
3 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2016
Date Written: 2015
The claimant, Ms Hounga, travelled to the United Kingdom from Nigeria in 2007. She was then aged around 14. Upon her arrival, the claimant was granted a visitor visa on the ground that her purpose for being in the United Kingdom was to see relatives. In fact, the claimant had intended to study and work illegally for the respondents, Mr and Mrs Allen. The claimant worked as an au pair for the respondents, who were complicit in the claimant's immigration offences, although they neither paid her nor, as promised, provided her with education. The respondents' treatment of the claimant was, on any measure, highly exploitative. It included physical abuse. Eventually, the claimant was dismissed from her employment, whereupon she brought several claims against the respondents, including a claim in the statutory tort of race discrimination with respect to her dismissal (s 4(2)(c) of the Race Relations Act 1976 (now s 39(2)(c) of the Equality Act 2010)). The Employment Tribunal upheld that claim. The respondents relied on the illegality defence but the Tribunal found that it was inapplicable. The respondents' appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal was dismissed. The Court of Appeal ( IRLR 685) reversed the findings below, holding that the illegality defence applied because the discrimination was inextricably linked with the claimant's illegal conduct. The claimant appealed to the Supreme Court.
Keywords: tort, immigration, defences, illegality
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation