This page provides a brief summary, links to information and the full judgments for binding authorities which can be useful in Equality Act 2010 and Northern Irish Disability Discrimination Act claims. We should be clear that in some cases the disabled person is ‘not very pleasant’. We list those cases for their value as legal authorities, and not to condone their behaviour.
Where judgments are hosted at BAILII (the British and Irish Legal Information Institute) there is a link on each page to a printable RTF format version of the judgment for printing. Where possible we will link to a Microsoft Word version of a judgment. If you need an accessible format of any judgments we link to, please contact us and we will do our best to assist.Reasonable Access would especially like to thank Allen Tyrer, who maintains the excellent Stammering Law website, which is an excellent and easily readable resource about disability discrimination in the UK.
Purves v Joydisc Ltd
Purves is important for showing the level at which financial compensation should be set for “injury to feelings” one of the main remedies available for disability discrimination court claims.
In 2003 Purves says:” I would therefore hold that the sum of £750 is the least that may nowadays be awarded for the very slightest injury to feelings, deserving of damages, which is caused by discrimination on the ground of disability.“. You can calculate how much that 2003 era £750 has changed in value by using the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.
R. (on the application of King) v Isleworth Crown Court
Judges and courts must follow the advice in the Equal Treatment Bench Book (ETBB) to ensure that litigants are given fair access to justice (see paragraph 43 of the judgment).
Crown Prosecution Service v Fraser
Another authority covering the Equal Treatment Bench Book, this time in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of a man with a mental illness that caused him to behave bizarrely during the legal process. Again it is stressed that in the interests of justice and fair hearings, judges should follow guidance in the Equal Treatment Bench Book and make adjustments to hearing processes while also balancing the rights of the other parties in the case.
Roads v Central Trains
Roads is one of the most important authorities for disability discrimination cases in goods and services. It asserts that access for disabled people should be as close as possible to that for non-disabled people. It also clarifies that the reasonable adjustments duty is anticipatory and applies to classes of disabled people, and that being an activist (as Mr Roads was) does not make a legal claim less valid.
Royal Bank of Scotland v Allen
Allen is often cited in disability discrimination cases as it supports the idea that access for disabled people should be provided as similarly as possible to that for non-disabled people. Especially useful for showing that shops offering services in the street for people who cannot get physical access to a shop is not acceptable. Allen is also interesting as it’s one of the few cases where a court has made an injunction – in this case for a lift to be installed into a building.
Finnegan v Northumbria Police
While Finnegan lost the specifics of his case, the Appeal Court ruling is important for clarifying the duty to make reasonable adjustments to disabled people as a “class” supporting the position of Roads. Finnegan was decided under both the Disability Discrimination Acts and Equality Act 2010 as the incidents happened before and after the changeover in England, Scotland and Wales – and is therefore potentially applicable in Northern Ireland.
SCA Packaging v Boyle [2009, DDA]
Boyle is important for deciding that ‘likelihood‘ of the effects of an impairment becoming ‘substantially disadvantageous’ (to meet the legal definition of being a disability) without treatment or recurring is “could well be likely and does not have to be over a 50% chance.
Boyle is especially useful for classifying people as disabled if they have impairments that commonly recur or flare up such as depression and anxiety. Being legally disabled entitles people to reasonable adjustments to reduce substantial disadvantages they experience.
Archibald v Fife Council [DDA, House of Lords]
The judgment in Archibald is important because it says that to comply with the Equality and Disability Discrimination Acts that it might be necessary to give a disabled person preferential treatment over a non disabled person.
McNutt v Transport for London
The judgment in McNutt is important because it clarifies when a black cab or minicab driver is permitted to start their meter and that if the customer refuses to board or continue a journey because of a prematurely started meter that this is reasonable.
FirstGroup plc v Paulley
While transport vehicles are largely exempt from the Equality and Disability Discrimination Acts, the policies and practices that transport companies have are still covered. The issue in Paulley was how much effort a bus driver has to make to ask someone occupying the only wheelchair to move if they can sit elsewhere or fold an infant’s buggy.
Paulley went all the way to the Supreme Court which decided the driver had to try asking the passenger(s) in the wheelchair space to move, consider making announcements refusing to drive until a passenger(s) moved, but could not be required to compel the passenger to move if they continued to refuse.
Project Management Institute v Latif
Latif is important for two main reasons:
1) if a service provider is based outside of the UK but provides services to UK users/consumers then the Disability Discrimination and Equality Acts may apply.
2) Secondly it clarifies that there is no requirement for the disabled person to have suggested a reasonable adjustment for that adjustment to have been considered. It is the service provider’s responsibility to consider what adjustments will reduce ‘substantial disadvantage’.
Risby v London Borough of Waltham Forest
Risby shows that something arising from disability can be a lot looser than previously recognised. The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed Risby’s appeal against unfair dismissal because his employer changed a training venue to one which was not wheelchair accessible, therefore Risby could not access it. If that had not happened, Risby would not have got angry and behaved inappropriately (aggressively and used racial slurs). The Employment Tribunal did not properly consider Section 15, ‘Discrimination Arising from Disability’ and follow the correct legal tests.
The case was remitted back to an Employment Tribunal to consider the issue of discrimination arising from and whether the dismissal was a proportionate means to a legitimate aim. There appears to be no outcome published for that. Risby’s dismissal could still have been justified if the employer could show that while Risby’s behaviour arose from disability, dismissing him was a proportionate means to a legitimate aim of enforcing equality policies and ensuring BME staff felt safe in the workplace environment.
Blackwood v Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
The Court of Appeal ruling in Blackwood effectively amends Section 56(6) of the Equality Act so that students on work placements can enforce their Equality Act rights. f-then clause is incomplete and commas are missing – should be:
If the issue is with how the university arranges a placement, then the claim is taken to the County Court under ‘Part 6 Further and Higher Education’. However, if the issue is how the student is treated on placement, then the claim is taken to the Employment Tribunal under ‘Part 5 Employment’ provisions.