ME is listed in the Equal Treatment Bench Book which contains guidance on Equality & Diversity issues for the judiciary, this includes Tribunal Chairs.  

Unfortunately the judiciary are often unaware of the Equal Treatment Bench Book and need to have the relevant bits pointed out!

The ME entry can be found on Page 28 of the disability glossary Equal Treatment Bench Book,  November 2013:

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

This is a relatively common illness of unknown cause, classified by the WHO as a neurological disease. It comprises a variety of symptoms including fatigue, malaise, headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty with concentration and muscle pain.  

A person’s symptoms may fluctuate in intensity and severity and there is also great variability in the symptoms and their severity between different individuals.

It is characterised by debilitating fatigue which can be triggered by minimal activity.  Those severely affected may be wheel chair users. Many people with ME/CFS suffer with impaired concentration and short term memory, difficulties with information processing and word retrieval, hypersensitivity to light and noise.  

Although people with ME may not appear unwell, travel to a tribunal or court venue will have been taxing and sitting in an ordinary chair is often uncomfortable. Limited mental stamina will also be a factor when participating in proceedings; breaks may be necessary to restore concentration.

Links to other parts of the Equal Treatment Bench Book

Other entitlements:

Your condition might count as a disability, defined by the Equality Act (2010) as follows: ‘a person has a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’ (Disability Discrimination Act 1995, carried over to the Equality Act, 2010).

You would then be entitled to reasonable adjustments if you have a Hearing and in study / employment situations.  


A further entitlement for employees and the self-employed is Access to Work, via Jobcentre Plus.

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