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Masthead Local Govt - Procurement and Contracts

Court of Appeal to hear row over motion on boycott of Israeli settlement goods

A Jewish campaign group has won permission from the Court of Appeal to challenge a High Court ruling over a motion passed by Leicester City Council to boycott goods from Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Jewish Human Rights Watch said in a statement: “After two years of arduous struggle [we] welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision to give permission to appeal an earlier ruling by the High Court  which refused JHRW's challenge to Leicester City Council’s boycott motion. 

“Throughout all of  this campaign  we have worked tirelessly to seek a resolution with Leicester City Council to have their hurtful and discriminatory boycott motion removed, but to no avail.”

The group added: “We believe that there should be no room in the UK for discrimination against any minority group.

 “At the heart of our legal action is the right for the Jewish community not to be persecuted in this fashion.”

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: "The High Court dismissed the claims of discrimination made by this group back in June 2016, and instructed them to pay our legal costs.

"This latest decision means they now need to convince the Court of Appeal that the decision made by the High Court judges was wrong.”

An analysis published by Local Government Lawyer in July 2016 said the High Court held that a challenge over observance of the public sector equality duty would be more easily applied to formal policies than to resolutions that did not themselves set policy.

It also dismissed a challenge on grounds that the motion represented a non-commercial consideration in awarding public contracts, as the motion did not bind the council’s executive in making procurement policy.

Mark Smulian

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