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Kapadia v London Borough of Lambeth

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Last updated 1999.

Employment Appeal Tribunal, 1999. Full decision: bailii.org.

An accountant suffered from reactive depression and was retired on medical grounds.

One of the issues was whether counselling which he was having with a consultant clinical psychologist fell within Schedule 1 para 6. The EAT held it did fall within para 6. The court therefore had to look at how his condition would have been if the counselling were not happening. There was evidence that without the counselling sessions there would have been a strong likelihood of total mental breakdown and the need for psychiatric treatment, including in-patient treatment. Partly for this reason, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held he was disabled.

On the issue of whether the counselling fell within para 6, the respondent submitted that since it consisted of talking to the patient that could not amount to treatment. The EAT said: “In the absence of any medical evidence to the contrary, we are quite satisfied that counselling with a consultant clinical psychologist constitutes treatment within the meaning of para 6 … In so holding we reject [the respondent’s] further contention that the counselling sessions with Mr Revell did not constitute treatment because they were directed to reduction of the appellant’s symptoms, not to the correction of the mental impairment. It seems to be suggested that a series of counselling sessions which prevents the patient from needing drug treatment for his condition does not amount to treatment. We simply cannot accept that assertion from the Bar.”

Note: this case went up to the Court of Appeal ([2000] IRLR 699), but not on the above point. The employer argued that the EAT should have remitted the case to the employment tribunal rather than decided the case itself. The Court of Appeal did not agree and upheld the EAT decision.