Regina v National Insurance Commissioner, Ex parte Secretary of State for Social Services; In re Packer: CA 1981

Mrs Packer, a lady of eighty-three, claimed an attendance allowance under the Act of 1975 in respect of the cooking of her meals which she could not do herself. The Commissioner thought that eating was a bodily function and that cooking was so closely connected with it that it constituted ‘attention’ in connection with a bodily function. The judge thought cooking was itself a bodily function.
Held: The Court took a broader view of the meaning of bodily functions than those of merely eating and excreting: ”Bodily functions’ include breathing, hearing, seeing, eating, drinking, walking, sitting, sleeping, getting in or out of bed, dressing, undressing, eliminating waste products–and the like – all of which an ordinary person–who is not suffering from any disability–does for himself.’ and ‘To my mind the word ‘functions’ in its physiological or bodily sense connotes the normal action of any organs or set of organs of the body, and so the attention must be in connection with such normal actions.’ and ‘The word ‘attention’ itself indicates something more than personal service, something involving care, consideration and vigilance for the person being attended. The very word suggests a service of a close and intimate nature. And the phrase ‘attention . . in connection with . . bodily functions’ involves some service involving personal contact carried out in the presence of the disabled person.’

Lord Denning MR
[1981] 1 WLR 1017
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedGregory Ramsden v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 31-Jan-2003
The claimant appealed against refusal of an award of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
Held: It was not clear that the tribunal had properly applied the test laid down in Cockburn and the matter was remitted to be reheard . .
CitedCockburn v Chief Adjudication Officer and Another and Secretary of State for Social Services v Fairey HL 21-May-1997
The provision of an interpreter for a deaf person was included in range of care needed for attendance for Disability Living Allowance. Dealing with his soiled laundry was not so included: ‘In my opinion it is not enough to ask whether the act in . .
ApprovedIn re Woodling; Woodling v Secretary of State for Social Services HL 1984
The question of law was whether cooking meals was ‘attention in connection with bodily functions’ for the purpose of attendance allowance.
Held: Though courts are willing to give ‘bodily functions’ a fairly wide meaning, it did not include the . .
MentionedCart v The Upper Tribunal SC 21-Jun-2011
Limitations to Judicial Reviw of Upper Tribunal
Three claimants sought to challenge decisions of various Upper Tribunals by way of judicial review. In each case the request for judicial review had been first refused on the basis that having been explicitly designated as higher courts, the proper . .
CitedSL v Westminster City Council SC 9-May-2013
The applicant for assistance from the respondent Council under the 1948 Act was a destitute, homeless failed asylum seeker. He had been admitted to hospital for psychiatric care, but the Council had maintained that his condition was part of and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.198684