The EAT has handed down judgment on whether general 'mental handicap', or generalised learning disorders, can amount to a disability.
It has often widely thought that a mental impairment must be clinically well-recognised before it can amount to a disability.
However, in Dunham v Ashford Windows, the EAT (drawing on dicta in an earlier case) made it clear that general learning disabilities (if sufficiently serious) can amount to a mental impairment. Whilst a "mental illness" must be clinically well-recognised in order to amount to a disability (under para. 1 of Schedule 1 to the DDA 1995), this does not preclude other types of mental impairment which do not amount to a mental illness, from qualifying as a disability.
This case expands the remit of the DDA 1995. Note that under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the requirement for a mential illness to be well-recognised is abolished (expected to come into force December 2005).
Dunham v Ashford Windows EAT 2005
[Thanks to Taqdir Baines of the Citizens Advice Bureau Specialist Support Unit, which represented the Claimant, for notifying me of this decision.]