EBR Attridge Law LLP and another v Coleman (No.2)  IRLR 10 EAT may prove to be a constitutional landmark when it comes to the interplay between domestic and European law. The EAT has "interpreted" the DDA in a way that is consistent with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in Coleman v Attridge Law and another  IRLR 722 ECJ, and held that Ms Coleman can pursue a disability discrimination claim based on the allegation that the employer treated her less favourably because of her son's disability.
In doing so, the EAT has gone further than any other case I can find in distorting the meaning of the UK legislation to meet the requirements of EU law - not just in employment, but in any other jurisdiction.
The idea that a UK court should attempt to give effect to European law in the way in which it interprets domestic legislation is not new. To date, however, the courts have carried out this function only where there is an ambiguity in the domestic legislation at issue. But, in Coleman, the EAT has adopted an interpretation that is in clear contradiction of the words of the Act, which specifically provides - in numerous places - that a disability discrimination claim is open only to those who are themselves disabled.
To appreciate how radical this approach is, we only need to look at the recent judicial review of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. In Equal Opportunities Commission v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry  IRLR 327 HC, one of the issues was the statutory definition of sexual harassment, which required the unwanted conduct in question to be "on the grounds of sex".
The Equal Opportunities Commission (now the Equality and Human Rights Commission) argued that this was narrower than the wording used in the revised Equal Treatment Directive (2002/73/EC), which spoke of conduct "related to" sex. In ruling that the legislation had to be changed, the High Court was extremely doubtful that it would be possible to "read down" the wording in the directive and make it fit with the wording of the Act. The EAT in Coleman was plagued with no such doubts as to the limits of the rules