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Neutral Citation Number: 2010 UKUT 198 AAC
Reported Number:
File Number: CI 1386 2009
Appellant: Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Respondent: CS
Judge/Commissioner: Judge P. L. Howell Q.C.
Date Of Decision: 10/06/2010
Date Added: 02/08/2010
Main Category: Industrial diseases
Main Subcategory: A4 (task-specific focal dystonia)
Secondary Category:
Secondary Subcategory:
Notes: Reported as [2011] AACR 4 Prescribed disease A4 – task-specific focal dystonia – meaning of “task-specific” – whether includes cervical dystonia The claimant suffered from cervical torticollis, a form of focal dystonia, brought on by frequent turning of her neck and upper body to use a computer in her work behind the counter of a building society. Her claim for industrial injuries disablement benefit was refused on the ground that her condition did not fall within the list of diseases or personal injuries prescribed in Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Diseases) Regulations 1985. She appealed and the First-tier Tribunal allowed her appeal, holding that her condition fell within the wording of the prescription of prescribed disease A4 “Task-specific focal dystonia”, which was substituted from 6 April 2007 for “Cramp of the hand or forearm due to repetitive movements”, following a report of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. The Secretary of State appealed to the Upper Tribunal, arguing that a “task-specific focal dystonia” in the sense in which those words were used in the regulation would only affect the hand or forearm and as the tribunal clearly recorded that the claimant’s hands and arms were not affected, the terms of the prescription of the disease could not be satisfied. It was accepted that her work brought her within the occupational part of the prescription in the Schedule and that her work caused her disability. The judge heard medical evidence and considered medical literature on the meaning of “task-specific focal dystonia”. Held, allowing the appeal, that: 1. in a specialised medical context such as this, the term “task-specific” refers to dystonic conditions which relate to muscles involved in performing skilled fine motor tasks, not as a general term so as to include dystonias that relate to the larger, less specific or finely-controlled muscular movements (paragraphs 19 to 23); 2. it is legitimate to draw at least some inference as to the intended scope of the reference to “task-specific” in the description of the disease from the actual occupational tasks identified for the purposes of the prescription, as referring to the kind of movements and actions specific to those occupational activities and not to anything more general (paragraph 24); 3. the prescribed disease had throughout its long history been concerned with conditions accepted as related to the performance of finely-controlled repetitive movements and the terms of the report which led to the introduction of the 2007 rewording left no doubt that the only aspect of the existing wording sought to be addressed by the introduction of the amendment was the removal of the risk of ambiguity from the use of the old term “cramp”, which was considered to require replacing by more up-to-date medical terminology (paragraphs 25 to 29); 4. cervical dystonia of the kind suffered by the claimant was therefore not within the true scope of disease A4 “Task-specific focal dystonia” as prescribed from April 2007 (paragraph 18); 5. if the effect of the amendment to the prescription of prescribed disease A4 in 2007 were to extend the scope of the prescription to include cervical dystonia, the whole amendment would have to be held invalid for failure to comply with the statutory preconditions of the Secretary of State’s power to make the statutory instrument, since there was no evidence and no basis in the Council’s report for him to be satisfied that the prescription should be extended to that particular type of focal dystonia (paragraphs 29 and 30).
Decision(s) to Download: [2011] AACR 4 ws.doc [2011] AACR 4 ws.doc