In Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council v Norton and others (2011) the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Darren Norton, Louise Norton and Samantha Norton against a decision of Judge Swanson in the Barnsley County Court on 17 December 2010 to make an order for possession of the caretaker's house at Carlton Primary School, Barnsley following termination of Mr Norton's employment as caretaker.
The Nortons had argued that, with the local authority knowing that Samantha sufferered from a disability for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the local authority, by bringing and continuing the possession proceedings, was in breach of its duty under section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The court found that the duty in section 49A(1) of that Act was intended to apply whenever an authority was taking decisions such as a decision to seek possession of a disabled person's home.
The court found that the duty applied widely and it was not something that had to be considered only when a public authority was exercising functions that bore on the rights of a disabled person under some other specific legislation. The appeal was dismissed, however, because in the circumstances it was appropriate for the judge to make the order. It was now up to the authority to discharge properly its duties under the Housing Act 1996 and its duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.
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