Supreme Court’s ruling undermines dignity of thousands of disabled people (McDonald v Kensington and Chelsea)


Article published by: RADAR


Today the Supreme Court has ruled that a local authority is allowed to provide incontinence pads to a disabled woman who is not incontinent but relies on an extra person to go to the toilet.


Radar is disgusted that the Supreme Court – with the notable exception of Baroness Hale – has spoken out against the dignity of Mrs McDonald. This judgment has extremely worrying implications for the thousands of disabled people who rely on care to maintain their dignity.


Liz Sayce OBE, Radar’s Chief Executive, expressed her dismay at the ruling:


“Such a judgment at this high level shows that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the attitudes in society towards disabled people. Disabled people are human beings and with the right support we can lead full and rewarding lives.


Cost and convenience for a local authority must not and cannot trump dignity for a human being. The human and financial cost to many disabled people and their families is huge, not to speak of the cost to the NHS as they have to deal with mental distress and deteriorating physical health, and the cost to the economy as businesses miss out on the pool of disabled talent and customers.


We deeply sympathise with Mrs McDonald. We call on the Equality and Human Rights Commission not to stop here but support Mrs McDonald to take this further to the European Court of Human Rights. The Government must now implement the recommendations from the Law Commission and Dilnot Commission to reform the social care system so that disabled people are not denied this support on the basis of cost or convenience for the local authority.”


For more information, contact Marije Davidson, Radar Public Affairs Manager, at or 020 8463 11 22 ext 0964.