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Explanatory Memorandum to Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Article 18: Meaning of “disability”

51.Article 18 removes the requirement that a mental illness must be “clinically well-recognised” before it can amount to a mental impairment for the purposes of the DDA.  The removal of this requirement does not affect the need for people with a mental illness to demonstrate that they have an impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

52.Article 18 also deems people with HIV, cancer or MS to be disabled, and enables the Department to make regulations excluding persons who have cancer of a prescribed description from the provisions of sub-paragraph (1).  This power could be exercised, for example, to exclude those types of cancer which do not require substantial treatment.  Any regulations made under this power are subject to affirmative resolution by the Assembly.

53.Paragraph 7(5) of Schedule 1 to the DDA contains a power to deem a person to have a disability in prescribed circumstances.  Article 18(4) inserts new paragraph 7(5A) into Schedule 1 to the DDA in order to make it clear that there are no implied limitations on that power.  Regulations made under paragraph 7(5) will then be able to deem any group of people to be disabled, even a group covered in some way by another provision of Schedule 1 to the DDA.

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