19th Feb QOCS judgment

Anyone who wishes to support Esther Leighton at her QOCS (costs protection) hearing tomorrow where the judgment will be delivered needs to be at court 63 at the Royal Courts of Justice before 10am.

We recommend folk turn up by 9:30am at the Bellyard entrance.

For more information and context see our previous blogpost and links.

We will share the judgment and any other info as soon as we can.

At the High Court – Rapid Judgment in QOCS case!

Following Esther Leighton’s High Court hearing into QOCS (costs protections for people taking discrimination claims) on 28th January; we are delighted to be able to announce an extremely rapid delivery judgment delivery date of Wednesday 19th February at 10am.

Esther and some supporters will be at the Royal Courts of Justice in person and more supporters are always welcome. We know the hearing is at the Royal Courts of Justice, but not which court room it’ll be in until the day before. We are reasonably confident it will be in a wheelchair accessible court room, maybe even a working loop system!

We will announce the location here and on our social media as soon as we know the details.

Fingers crossed for a favourable judgment!

For more information about this case see:

  • Why Esther Leighton is challenging the government over costs protections issues in discrimination claims (QOCS)
  • 8 wheelchair users in a court room – makes the government think twice about their anti-costs protections arguments.
  • Steps on a disability civil rights journey – Haben Girma

    Intro

    I recently read an excellent autobiography “Haben: The Deafblind woman who conquered Harvard Law” (available in various formats including audio read by Haben herself).

    I was struck by Haben Girma’s journey of experiencing and challenging an instance of ongoing discrimination in chapter 18 which felt directly relevant to Reasonable Access’s aim of supporting and empowering disabled people to assert and enforce disability access rights.

    If you plan to read the book, you may wish to delay reading further to avoid spoilers.
    Continue reading “Steps on a disability civil rights journey – Haben Girma”

    Challenging the government – cost rules in discrimination cases

    We are delighted to announce that one of our members, Esther Leighton has been given permission for a full Judicial Review hearing to challenge costs rules in discrimination cases.

    Esther is being represented by a star team of Louise Whitfield at Deighton Pierce Glyn solicitors and barrister Karon Monaghan of Matrix Chambers. This case has been funded by the EHRC as having strategic importance for application of the the Equality Act as the outcome will affect people with all 9 protected characteristics.

    Why this case matters

    If you experience discrimination on the grounds of a ‘Protected Characteristic‘ such as disability, sex or race, you are technically protected by the Equality Act 2010.

    In practice, usually only an individual can enforce the law – there isn’t a specialised body to complain to. Informal complaints often don’t work, and 24 years after disability discrimination law came into force, poor access and discrimination is still widespread. Taking a legal case became harder after 2013 (when the government changed the law) because there is a high risk you can be made to pay the other side’s costs (sometimes even if you technically win your discrimination claim).

    As enforcing the Equality Act is so difficult and risky, organisations know that the risk of being sued for even blatant discrimination and poor access is very low. Society loses out, because accessibility and treating people fairly regardless of their protected characteristics are not seen as a priority.

    As Esther herself said in court papers:

    “These cases are important because they are about my daily experience. Getting into a cafe or a shop may not sound significant to a lot of people, but it is discrimination like this that excludes me from experiences that non-disabled people have every day without thinking about it.”

    The court hearing is on 28th January 2020 at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London. Several of us will be there to support Esther and her team – we will provide updates when we have them.

    We have adapted Judge Edis’s orders to make them accessible. A copy of the original orders in PDF can be found linked from Deighton Pierce Glyn’s press release

    Hello world!

    Hello and welcome to Reasonable Access.

    We are a small group of disabled people setting up an organisation to support disabled people to assert and enforce their access rights. 

    It is early days yet but we are working on plans like seeking funding, getting an accessibly designed website, registering as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and opening a bank account! We are mostly working using free resources but already have pledges of micro and not so micro donations from lovely supporters.