Journal Article

Unleashing the anticipatory reasonable adjustment duty : University of Bristol v Abrahart


On 14 February 2024, the High Court upheld the decision of the Bristol County Court in University of Bristol v Dr Robert Abrahart. Ms Abrahart, a physics undergraduate, took her own life in April 2018, the morning before she was meant to deliver an oral presentation. The claim brought by Ms Abrahart’s father was that in failing to remove or adjust the requirement for oral assessments, the University had discriminated against her on the basis of her disability. The High Court upheld the discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 while dismissing the claim in negligence on the basis that the University did not owe Ms Abrahart a common law duty of care. This note discusses the contrasting moves made by the High Court in, on the one hand, lowering the bar for finding a breach of the anticipatory reasonable adjustment duty, and on the other hand, raising the bar for finding an assessment method to be a ‘competence standard’ set by universities. Although arising in relation to the very specific facts of this case, the implications of the ruling in Abrahart are far reaching.

Attached files


Burin, Achas K.
Atrey, Shreya

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Law and Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2024
Date of RADAR deposit: 2024-03-08

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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This RADAR resource is Identical to Unleashing the anticipatory reasonable adjustment duty: University of Bristol v Abrahart (EHRC intervening) [2024] EWHC 299 (KB)


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