Mr Methuen, a 54 year old Asian man, worked at the Family department of Community Law Clinic Solicitors Ltd (“CLC”), but was dismissed. His replacement was a 34 year old Afro-Caribbean woman.

Mr Methuen brought claims in the ET for direct race, sex and age discrimination. CLC argued that the differences in protected characteristics that there were between Mr Methuen and his replacement were purely coincidental. CLC applied to strike out his claims, but this was refused so CLC appealed to the EAT. This appeal was partially successful and both race and sex discrimination claims were struck out, with the EAT commenting:

“it cannot be the law that where an employee is dismissed for whatever reason [...] and is replaced by someone whose protected characteristics are not exactly the same, the claimant can get a discrimination case to trial simply by asserting that the replacement employee is different [...] on that basis no discrimination claim could ever be struck out”.

Despite this, the EAT said that although his age discrimination claim was not a good one, it had more than “little prospects of success” and should proceed.

CLC appealed to the Court of Appeal.


The appeal was denied and the Court of Appeal upheld the EAT’s decision.

The Court of Appeal held that there had not been sufficient examination of the evidence of the facts surrounding the Mr Methuen’s dismissal so far as the age discrimination claim had been concerned. There was room for further evidence relating to the way in which age was linked to experience and qualifications and a fuller exploration of the facts should be carried out by the ET.

The judgment is available here.

Community Law Clinic Solicitors Ltd v Mr Methuen [2011] EWCA Civ 1783