News and Events

Definition of Disability

  • Posted

[Thanks to Laurie Anstis of Boyes Turner, who is standing in for Daniel Barnett. Thanks also to Peter Taheri of 5 Essex Court for preparing this case summary]

To establish that a person has a disability under the Equality Act 2010, is it sufficient to have a life-long condition that makes one more prone to infections, which is controlled by medication, and which infections have once in the past caused substantial adverse effect on one's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities?

No, says the EAT in Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust v Norris.

Although the EAT accepted that the substantial adverse effect could be caused by the increased infections, rather than directly by the immune system condition itself, it was necessary that there be adequate evidence that the increased infections would themselves have a substantial adverse effect.

Further, as the first-instance tribunal had concluded that the impairment was not long-term, the fact that the immune condition was life-long was not sufficient to show that any substantial adverse effect caused by increased infections was likely to recur. Even if the infections could well recur, there needed to be adequate evidence to show that they would be serious enough to have a substantial adverse effect.