Disability Act under fire from judge

Parliament needs to take “rapid remedial action” to reform
disability discrimination laws to stop a “deluge of litigation”
hitting the courts, Lord Justice Brooke warned during a landmark
ruling earlier this week.

Describing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as “policy driven
legislation” which had not been subjected to “rigorous scrutiny”,
Brooke dismissed the appeals of Sharon Romano and Yvonne Samari,
who were accused of being “nuisance neighbours”.

Lawyers for the women had argued that Manchester Council’s decision
to seek repossession of their homes violated the 1995 act.

Samari had been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder
and Romano with recurrent depressive disorder. They are defined as
disabled under the 1995 act.

The judge said the act, as it stands, could lead to “absurd and
unfair consequences” for landlords who could be faced with
accusations of discrimination even when they had no idea the tenant
was disabled.

The judge concluded his ruling by saying that, although the local
authority had acted reasonably, other councils would have to take
particular care and liaise closely with social services before
taking eviction action against disabled or mentally impaired

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