On appeal from: [2014] EWCA Civ 286.

The Social Security (Disability Living Allowance) Regulations 1991, regs 8(1), 10, 12A and 12B together provide that a child under 16 will cease to receive DLA after the 84th day of his admission as an inpatient in an NHS hospital. In this case, the Government’s aim in imposing the 84 day rule was to avoid overlapping provision to meet disability-related needs. It was conceded by the Secretary of State that the provision of DLA fell within the scope of Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR, which protects the peaceful enjoyment of possessions. Therefore, the Government was obliged to administer DLA without discrimination on any of the identified grounds (under ECHR, art 14).

Held: a difference in treatment on a prohibited ground will be justified if it pursues a legitimate aim and there is a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim. Evidence demonstrated that the personal and financial demands made on the substantial majority of parents with disabled children in hospital were at least no less than when they care for them at home. Therefore, state provision for disabled children in hospital was not overlapping to an extent which justified the suspension of DLA after the 84th day.

For judgment, please download: [2014] UKSC 47
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For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII
To watch hearing, please visit: Morning session (26 Mar 2015). Afternoon session (26 Mar 2015).