Thursday, 2 July 2009

SCA Packaging - New Case on Definition of 'Likely' in DDA

Judgments - SCA Packaging Limited (Appellants) v Boyle (Respondent) (Northern Ireland) [2009] UKHL 37

In order to decide whether an illness hoarseness caused by nodes on the vocal chords qualified as a disability for the purposes of the DDA 1995, the Court had to consider meaning of the word 'likely'! Under the DDA the word, likely appears 4 times but this case was concerned with 2 applications:

"Where an impairment ceases to have a substantial adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out day-to-day activities, it is to be treated as having that effect if that effect is likely to recur."
(Paragraph 2(2), Schedule 1, DDA.)

Paragraph 6(1) – "an impairment which would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities, but for the fact that measures are being taken to treat or correct it, is to be treated as having that effect"

the House of Lords rejected a previous authority that 'likely' in the context of the DDA 1995 was taken to mean a 51% chance. The courts should apply the possibly lower standard of, 'could well happen'.

NB The other mention of 'likely' appears;

Paragraph 8(1) – where a person has a progressive condition "he shall be taken to have an impairment which has a substantial adverse effect if the condition is likely to result in his having such an impairment"

Paragraph 2(1) – "the effect of an impairment is a long-term effect where… the period for which it lasts is likely to be at least 12 months; or it is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected"

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