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The law on ... Disability discrimination

Basic issues

The decision in the case of Malcolm v London Borough of Lewisham has brought how schools handle disability to the fore as it concerns "reasonable adjustments".

Why is the case so significant?

The Malcolm case will now make it harder to bring a claim for disability- related discrimination. It means schools will have to justify reasons, for example, for excluding a child from a school trip who has Attention Deficit Disorder. If a child who is naughty is also excluded from a school trip, it could suggest that the child with ADD is not discriminated against as a result of their disability. However, the child with ADD could still bring a claim that the school failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate their needs.

What to watch out for

Schools should be careful to refuse a request unless they can justify that refusal.

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