New Beginnings Therapy

Some bias - An Interpretation of Equality Act 2010

Example 1: Deputy District Judge Anne Aitken [email protected] put her pencil down and directed a question at me: so what do you do Ms. Day? (Holborn Central Family Court January 2019)

I am an honorary staff counsellor working for  the NHS  – I answered.

Deputy District Judge Anne Aitken non-curiously then assumed: “yes, but that is not a job in itself is it – if it is honorary, you are not paid for it! And as such it does not count – that it is not considered employment".

I felt disbelief -to all my account and within the totality of all my positions – which position in itself stands as an employment, but positively convincing not for DDJ Anne Aitken in trying to demean how I see myself or what I do as an actual fact. By same reasoning follows that DDJ Anne Aitken she is not much of a judge on any and all instances that does not involve her being actively present in her job, for instance if she is somehow asleep during such a conversation in Court – because she certainly appeared to me asleep rather than rude, arrogant, ill-mannered and quite stupid to out it plainly. But maybe all such qualities are much required in her job and are indeed present within her rather then what may have appeared to me owed to my non –judgmental nature developed also as an honorary staff counsellor for the NHS. Who knows? I do.

I must have looked pretty puzzled for fractions of seconds for reasons quite obvious to me and clearly not obvious at all to DDJ. It truly felt as one decided to answer a quiz on “what is your most valuable asset” from possible answers:

1.Your brain; 2. How to use your brain; 3. When you are asleep; clearly if we are to interpret DDJ assumption on possibility of 1 to 3, she clearly is not feeling much of a judge at all on all instances especially when 3. She is asleep and 1. Any other instances when she is potentially not thinking – as it may seem in making assumptions about what may feel to one as a valuable role or not depending on whether or not one is receiving an income. Definition of honorary involving a conduct and a professional way of being based on and achieved on multiples and various accomplished criteria, including a skill in assessing for dementia and or early signs of dementia - that being a true possibility for DDJ Anne Aitken exhibited behaviour during that instance and several of other moments. Also considering her retirement from her profession announced for November 2018 but continuing into 2019; one, if indeed, is using inference as a way of assessing a possibility, it looks even more so highly likely that a dementia diagnosis for DDJ Anne Aitken was highly present and probable at time of discussion. Perhaps another assessment of that fact was long overdue, that being in my opinion, professional opinion, honorary and otherwise.

Example 2.

A barrister Katy Rensten from [email protected] next to me elbows me with what it appears a left wrist plastered- probably just before attending A&E another colleague decided she had enough and I could clearly see as to why. Robust, mean looking and moment she opened her mouth – what came out sounded like a squeaking of an old shoe completely worn out and drenched: she is acutely observing her left – I – making notes on my phone and then – I hope this is my imagination she raises her only limb (fore) available – right hand and addresses the Court –

"Madam! I believe Ms. Day is recording as she is using her phone." 

I were indeed making notes on my phone for I did not carry my notebook that day – but to my disbelief – this Barrister – name [email protected]– for the sake of not being able to focus on making notes on her laptop ( she looked really not focussed), she brings herself to a theatrical manner to “report” me for some form of misconduct during a rather (possibly not for her) intense session of deliberation: me thinking to myself: now I do understand parliament and all political reporting during sessions, much much better!

Nevertheless, DDJ Aitken then turns to me mutters some ineligible warning about not using a phone during such proceedings – I then calmly explain that like everyone I am taking notes on a device much like a laptop and my actual phone is turned on silent – albeit obviously failed in being silent given that person to my right ([email protected]) and half able (mentally and physically) become suddenly preoccupied with where and how I record my notes. Needless to say because they were so acutely incapable to monitor their need to pee – for which I could clearly smell it next to me or because some other difficult to assess in the moment need such as capacity to sit still.

I was not sure if laughter with all my might felt adequate, but equally a sense of: this is so Shakespearean in parts, except that Shakespeare really had very intelligent and a genius mind at work – watching the judge and the barrister performing, all I could see there were relics of stupidity at height so low down, that I could not be ask to locate it. Dungeon perhaps! – And yet, there is something in that that I could identify through a professional skill not worn out: exhibiting an unprofessional conduct both barrister and judge with a clear under coping and lack of control, resilience zero, power of adjusting and conduct negative, if I were to compare that behaviour with anything in natural world would be someone needing the toilet so badly but being quite so unaware of who they are, they would request a break for next to them person right or left- without a doubt they will not know either way – and indicate that they believe the person next to them they are in need for a break. Another alternative is given that left wrist was plastered, it is highly possible that the barrister was overdosed that morning or all mornings for that matter, that in itself would explain conduct, smell and actioned behaviour and the overall presence look. All the above are quite frightful possibilities and yet, all seem positively possible given what had happened, reportedly.

Moving on from this example with a moral: always explain to a person that you are sitting next to you, that you are using a phone and do explain what a phone is – in case they may need to be told, use drawing, Latin, colour, sand and any potential other forms of communication such as a gesture of dialling a number to emergency services and use both American and British numbers. Fire Fighters too. Anything would be better than letting them in their distress and wonder. Also, offer them water. Alternatively, do draw a sign of toilet and exit and direct them to it with arrows. Or ask the judge to accompany them and then ask the barrister to bring the judge back – just in case toilet need and dementia do work hand in hand – because in this instance it really did, truly. The Barrister needed the loo and the judge could have done with a walk even if to the ladies if a sign post back would have been in place or placed.

Example 3.Definition of disability and pathology of bullying

[email protected]  Barrister Anne Spratling stands for personification of bully and what in CBT can be identified as Bullying type 2 cognitions. That sentence in itself would require some evidence and there is significant evidence to account to such a statement. During a reflective practice exercise, I were able to extract numerous negative automatic thoughts related to a personal encounter with Anne. Moreover, most of such thoughts were related to descriptions of instances where a definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 was more than merited and evidenced through numerous reports and yet, what came out as a reference point from such conversation were acts of discrimination (verbal) and harassment. I do leave room for such interpretation in methods employed in various contexts - but that in itself would make a definition of disability more inclusive rather than exclusive.  Nevertheless, this article is about a reading of definition of disability as it stands, it follows:

under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland.

What ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ mean

‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial;

‘long-term’ means 12 months or more; Retrieved from

All above 3 examples are instances when under some form of duress, our capacity to respond is diminished, there is a deep sense of feeling under threat and potential a compulsion to respond - that can take various forms and one such example is activating or applying selective ways of processing: we are feeling under threat, our anxiety is heightened and important perceptions or interpretations relate to danger. In such a context and once "a situation is perceived as dangerous, an anxiety programme is activated in involving autonomic arousal (fight/flight/freeze/faint) - to prepare to combat danger alongside an inhibition of ongoing behaviour and selective scanning for threat whilst suppressing all information incongruent with such perceived danger" ( White, J. 2002,p.59). CBT and "stress control" therapy offer a powerful framework for understanding ways of thinking, behaviour, emotions and physical sensations - all causally linked in a cycle whereas perceiving a situation with heightened anxiety would prevent a clear "read" of that specific situation: our cognitions (ways of thinking/thoughts/) may not necessarily cause the anxiety, but most definitely plays a powerful role in its maintenance. What does it really mean for day to day situations? Examples 1 to 3 stand for such situations and potential interpretations all in context of "danger" /threat/ read as humiliation, discrimination, verbal abuse and violence.

But my responses where carefully thought out, with a stand back, pause to all experienced and reinterpreted not only to its real context but also to all other possibilities involved. How would that be possible? Practice, reflective practice and strategies.

More importantly, have I ever at any point, were I to think in such ways (examples 1 to 3), what would have been a final result? Reality of actual events described is fair and factual, what is not factual is how I interpreted such events then and how I still do now. I remained calm, serene and real. I am calm, serene and real. I did have feelings of hurt and felt at times under a lot of stress, but at no point there was an activation  of bias or a trial (paradox) to reinterpret such events. There are multiple reasons for that and amongst such important reasons stands self-awareness (reflective practice) and integrity. All above examples are using a "judge", law and definition of disability, notions of bullying, ageism, sexism, racism, discrimination and oppression at degrees both unbearable and incomprehensible, and yet to such a potentiality there are no responses other than to recognize that by feeling resentment, anger, stress are answers of engagement with injustice and other's biases. At that moment there is a distinct choice one can make, my choice: non engagement, non-judgement other than telling yourself that human nature is not without flaws, and there is no perfection in any system, human made or otherwise. Do I still believe in that? Yes, I do. What would mean to give up my faith and my reasoning for a handful of events or for a handful of behaviours of others that can be interpreted in numerous ways (the above being only a few such possibilities)? Would mean to stop being myself and myself is good and kind and compassionate. Am I willing to give that up? I always answer same. No, I am not willing to give that up even under a clear acknowledgement of things being difficult. Reflective practice and re/examination of difficult situations/incidents are strategies to employ when experiencing stressful life events work related, personal life etc. In applying/employing such a strategy, you will be able to identify negative thoughts and biases that on re/examination will offer you a chance to rethink on your potential actions and statements, but more importantly will allow you to see how vulnerable we all are when faced with injustice, unlawful acts and discrimination - especially when such discrimination is committed by the very people entrusted to determine an unlawful act and or determine an act of discrimination.