Summary: This paper is about the issue of defining disability in European discrimination law context. It is based on the research and discussions which have been undertaken within the European Group of Disability Discrimination Experts. The paper reviews the definition of disability in disability discrimination laws of those EU countries1 which have transposed the Framework Directive 2000/78/EC by the end of 2003. The main question of this review is whether the various definitions of disability perpetuate the medical/individual model of disability or support the social model of disability. According to the medical/individual model of disability the problems disabled person face in their daily life are mainly caused by their impairment, whereas the social model locates the problems in societal and environmental barriers outside the individual disabled person. The paper examines whether impairment related definitions of disability in disability discrimination laws perpetuate the medical model of disability. Secondly, the paper discusses whether a definition of disability is necessary within the context of disability discrimination law.
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