Court of Appeal decision in favour of parents in long running case

The Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings Robert Hesketh says he welcomes the Court of Appeal’s decision in favour of the plaintiffs in the long running case Ministry of Health v Peter Atkinson and others.

The nine plaintiffs, who include parents providing special care for disabled adult children, say the Ministry of Health has discriminated against them with a policy that makes family members ineligible for payment to provide disability support care their disabled relatives were otherwise entitled to.

Mr Hesketh said he had enormous respect for the resilience of the plaintiffs who have been through three court hearings over five years. He said the decision rejected outright the arguments by Crown Law representing the Ministry of Health.

Mr Hesketh hoped the comprehensive and unanimous decision by a full bench of the Court of Appeal would result in the Ministry working to resolve the issues with the plaintiffs and others affected by the policy. He said the ministry’s policy had meant the parents were effectively subsidising the cost of the care payments which were the ministry’s responsibility to fund.

Mr Hesketh congratulated the lawyers representing the parents, Frances Joychild, and David Peirse of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, on their long hours of work and acute analysis to prepare and present a well-argued case.

Court of Appeal Decision Atkinson vs Min of Health May 2012 (PDF 500Kb).

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