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'Disability equals diversity, not disadvantage' - International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Leigh Day is proud to support the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, helping to promote an understanding of disability issues and the obstacles that people with disabilities face in their everyday lives

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 December 2016

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, or World Disability Day, was established in 1992 by the United Nations and this year’s theme is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”.

This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

This year’s objectives include assessing the status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs and laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities.

The observance of the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disabilities coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD – one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations to date.

Perhaps the most significant message that International Day of Persons with Disabilities seeks to promote is that society should not only understand common issues surrounding disability, but also understand and support the substantial benefits that can be derived from the integration of people with disabilities in every aspect of the social, environmental, political and cultural life of their communities.

Leigh Day has worked with people with disabilities in all our practice areas to provide support, secure equality and ensure that human rights are upheld.

Medical negligence

Our medical negligence team work with adults and children who often will face a life time of disability. Legal settlements support our clients to obtain the funding for their care, equipment and therapy needs, to help them manage and adjust to their disabilities.

Toby is a blind, deaf six-year-old with cerebral palsy.  He can’t walk or sit up but enjoys assisted swimming and messy play. He has fits, can only eat food that’s been through a blender and will be totally dependent for the rest of his life.

Toby was a happy, healthy toddler but after developing cold-like symptoms. Toby was admitted to a Paediatric A&E department of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

His condition was attributed to asthma, however, he had meningitis and encephalitis causing catastrophic brain damage. By the time the medical team tried to treat his symptoms it was too late.

Toby’s solicitor, Russell Levy, ensured the NHS Litigation Authority accepted liability quickly.  Toby received one of the largest ever damages awards enabling his  parents to purchase a suitably adapted home and provide for Toby’s care costs for the rest of his life

Human Rights

In November this year the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court, ruled that the Government discriminated against disabled people through the implementation of the ‘bedroom tax’.

Since 1 April 2013, people in the social rented sector deemed to have one spare bedroom have had their housing benefit reduced by 14% and people deemed to have two, or more, spare bedrooms have had their housing benefit reduced by 25%.

The judgment found that the Government acted unlawfully against our client Jacqueline Carmichael and her husband and full time carer, Jayson, after their housing benefit was reduced by 14%, following the implementation of the bedroom tax.

Mrs Carmichael from Southport, Merseyside, has spina bifida and needs a special hospital-type bed in her bedroom with an electronic pressure mattress, specially designed to fit a single hospital bed. She must sleep in a fixed position and cannot share a bed with her husband. There is no space for an additional bed in the room and so they require a two bedroom flat.


We have campaigned vigorously on behalf of our clients who have been discriminated against at work, bringing a wide range of cases in a variety of sectors.

Emma Satyamurti is a prominent disability campaigner. She led the commissioning of original research into the experiences of disabled people in, and trying to enter, the workplace - The Purple Workforce report - which led to a lively roundtable discussion chaired by Lord Low and attended by many leading disability organisations.

She gave a presentation at a fringe session of the 2015 Conservative Party Conference organised by Scope and the CSJ, alongside then Minister for Disabilities, Justin Tomlinson MP.  She has also written a guide for disabled football fans about their rights.

Personal Injury

Our Personal Injury team deals with a wide range of claims including those involving the loss of limbs and serious head and spinal injuries.

It has secured multi-million pound settlements for clients seeking spinal injury compensation and have one of the largest teams of specialist back and spinal cord injury lawyers in the country.

Mark was cycling along when he was hit by a car suffering a high level spinal cord injury which has left him tetraplegic and a wheelchair user. At the time of the collision Mark worked as a senior employee and had a young family.

Mark's lawyer, Sally Moore was able to secure interim payments for Mark which paid for his loss of earnings, rehabilitation, therapies, specialist equipment, and, most importantly of all, the purchase and adaptation of a house in North London suitable for Mark and his family. 

The adaptations to the house - including a lift, wet room, assistive living designed kitchen, electronic front door, wider hallways and doors - have enabled Mark to be independent in his own home.

Product liability

The product liability team works with clients who have suffered due to faulty medical devices, which can cause significant and permanent injury.

Visual impairment due to lens replacement surgery can have a huge impact on a person’s life and the product liability team have worked with clients who have had to drastically change their lives after being left with severe vision problems.

The team have secured compensation to help clients buy specialist equipment specifically designed for blind or visually impaired people and to pay for transport or support to help them enjoy some leisure and social activities. In some cases the person will need to have modifications made to their accommodation or to move to different accommodation all together.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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