In Hounga v Allen,2 the Supreme Court has taken the opportunity to overrule one of the most controversial Court of Appeal decisions on employment rights in recent times, in which it was held that the doctrine of ex turpi causa non oritur actio (hereafter illegality) barred the claimant’s race discrimination claim against her employer. The facts that gave rise to the Court of Appeal decision were, on any view, disturbing. The claimant, Mary Hounga, had been trafficked into the country from Nigeria to undertake domestic work whilst living with Mr and Mrs Allen. The arrangements had been orchestrated by the Allen family in Nigeria, and though Miss Hounga’s age was indeterminate, she may have been as young as 14 when she arrived in the UK. The court found that she had been lured by the promise...

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