Moyna v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (formerly against the Social Security Commissioner)(Appellant)(2003) – (reported as R(DLA)7/03)


This House of Lords decision overturns the earlier court of appeal decision - Moyna v Social Security Commissioner – (27.3.02). The earlier decision states that there needs to be a regular pattern of need for the cooking test rather than an intermittent or occasional one. That pattern is initially established by the ‘three months backwards’ test. The pattern can be as little as once a week and still satisfy the test.

The House of Lords rejected this approach stating that the court of appeal was wrong to place emphasis on the fact that a person may need or prefer to cook a main meal more or less every day. The cooking test is a theoretical one, “a thought-experiment, to calibrate the severity of the disability”. The test says nothing about how often the person should be able to cook.

“It involves looking at the whole [nine month] period and saying whether, in a more general sense, the person can fairly be described as a person who is unable to cook a meal. It is an exercise in judgment rather than an arithmetical calculation of frequency.”

Many decisions are now following the approach set by Moyna, the most notable being R(DLA)5/05, which examines the implications of Moyna in relation to existing (and long standing) case law.

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