Elizabeth Hand v. Police Authority for Northern Ireland and by cwo85145

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									Elizabeth Hand v. Police Authority for Northern Ireland and the Criminal Records
Office (Case ref: 1691/01)

1) Reference Details

Jurisdiction: Northern Ireland, Industrial Tribunal
Date of Decision: 2 August 2002
Link to full case:
http://www.equalityni.org/archive/Case%20Decisions/Definition%20Disability/Elizabeth%20Hand%20v%20
PANI%20&%20Criminal%20Records%20Office.pdf

2) Facts

The applicant was born on 23 May 1960 with a cleft of lip and palate. She had a series of
surgical procedures aimed at repairing the cleft palate including a mandibular osteotomy to
give better contour to the face, and corrective rhinoplasty which consisted of thinning,
straightening and shortening the time of the nose together with revision of the lip scar. An
operation was also performed to enlarge the left nostril. In addition, the applicant had
considerable orthodontic treatment to reduce the disfigurement due to malalignment of the
teeth in the region of the cleft.

3) Law

    •    Section 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act (definition of disability)

4) Legal Arguments

The Applicant

The applicant argued that her disfigurement was severe enough to fall within the meaning
of a disability under s. 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Respondent

The respondent did not disagree as to the nature of the disfigurement, but emphasised that
the degree of disfigurement was a matter of judgement and in this context for the Tribunal.

5) Decision

The Industrial Tribunal found unanimously that the applicant was disabled within the
meaning of s. 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 on the basis that is was satisfied
that she was very self-conscious about her disfigurement. In making its assessment the
Industrial Tribunal noted in particular the precise nature of the disfigurement, how easily it
was observed, and the fact that it was in the central portion of the face. The Industrial
Tribunal concluded that the cleft palate was severe enough to come within the meaning of a
disability under s. 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.




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