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Disability Rights Commissioner Welcomes Court Ruling Affirming Disability Rights

The Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero welcomes the ruling of the Employment Court in its judgment on Fleming v Attorney General, released today.

In her ruling, Chief Judge Inglis clarified the Ministry of Health as the employer of Mrs Christine Fleming, a mother providing support to her disabled adult son, Justin.

The Ministry of Health’s Funded Family Care policy required the disabled person to be the employer in all cases.

Paula Tesoriero says the Court’s judgment supported the Commission's submission that the one-size-fits-all approach to policy is not always compatible with a human rights approach.

“We are pleased the Court acknowledged the importance of ensuring that policies are accessible and enable the effective participation of the disabled people affected by them, and that it applied the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the judgment,” she said.

“I also note that while the Court observed there are many disabled people who are willing to take the role of employer, this wasn’t the case for Justin because of the nature of his impairment.

“This judgment confirms that it’s the duty of the Government to ensure that rights to policies that affect disabled people are applied consistently with its human rights obligations.

“We recognise some reforms the Ministry of Health has recently introduced in the area and look forward to working with the Ministry, disabled people and their families to ensure that a human rights approach is front and centre.”

The Human Rights Commission participated in the case as an intervener. Under the Human Rights Act the Commission can apply to Courts to participate in cases that raise important rights issues.

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