While County Court judgments aren’t binding, they can be persuasive and useful in other cases. County Court judgments can be difficult to find as they are not routinely provided in a written form, meaning an EX107 form and a fee often have to be paid to get Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to transcribe them.
Reasonable Access would like to thank the people who have allowed us to publish their case judgments here or have put them in the public domain so that we can link to them. We will upload our own hosted judgments in Microsoft Word and PDF formats to be as widely accessible as possible. Linked judgments may only be in limited formats but if you have difficulties accessing them, let us know via our Contact Us page and we’ll try and convert them to a suitable format.
Reasonable Access hosted judgments
These are currently listed with most recent at the top.
Tse v Aviva Life Services
Judgment delivered at Slough County Court on 2nd April 2019.
Outcome: Declaration that Aviva had failed to make reasonable adjustments for disability – specifically failing to provide correspondence in accessible formats. Damages for injury to feelings of £3,300 for 3 instances of escalating seriousness.
Doug Paulley v London Underground Ltd
Judgment delivered at Leeds County Court on 10th January 2019.
Outcome: Finding of discrimination, and combined damages of £1,800 for injury to feelings over two cases.
Two separate incidents with broken lifts causing issue on London Underground at Westminster tube station and Kings Cross were captured by Doug on (subtitled) videos. The separate legal cases were combined into a single court hearing. District Judge Troy’s judgment goes into detail about the sorts of reasonable adjustments London Underground should take to inform disabled people of unplanned lift closures and how to respond when disabled people are stranded as a result. It is also clear that providing statistics and quotes about the number of disabled people from Doug’s Supreme Court case was influential.
Esther Leighton vs Mr Yeter Kahraman (T/A Carlos BBQ)
Judgment delivered at Cambridge County Court on 8th November 2017.
Outcome: Declaration and £6,000 damages for injury to feelings.
Carlos BBQ was an independent takeaway and cafe with a threshold step. No portable ramp was provided to enable wheelchair users to safely cross the threshold. The judgment is clear that Mr Kahraman’s offer to assist electric wheelchair user over the threshold is inappropriate; physically putting letters in the claimant’s electric wheelchair” is harassment and the fact that the disabled claimant has made made multiple legal complaints as part of a campaign for access doesn’t change the fact that she was discriminated against.
Links to County or Sheriff Court Judgments in Public Domain
Smailes & Poyner-Smailes v Clewer Court Residents Ltd
Judgment delivered on 20th January 2019 at Cardiff County Court
Outcome: Declaration that the Equality Act section 20(3) (failure to make reasonable adjustments) and Section 26 (harassment) was breached. Remedy still to be decided.
Critical to show that landlords (leaseholders) refusing to allow a disabled person to make adaptations to their home may be unlawful. Case was funded by the Equality Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to clarify the law.
Mrs Poyner-Smailes and her husband Mr Smailes bought a flat in a building which had been converted to flats. They requested permission to adapt the flat for Mrs Poyner-Smailes’s disability needs. Despite other residents being allowed to make adaptations, the Smailes and Poyner-Smailes’s requests were refused with Clewer asking for increasingly intrusive proof of disability and reports to prove the adaption works would not cause disruption to others. Representatives of Clewer also harassed Mr Smailes and Mrs Poyner-Smailes in how they handled requests and the complaint.
Plummer v Royal Herbert Freehold Ltd
Judgment delivered at Central London County Court on 6th June 2018
Outcome: Declaration that Royal Herbert failed to make reasonable adjustments and indirectly discriminated against James Plummer. £9,000 damages for injury to feelings including aggravating factors of Royal Herbert refusing to engage over a very long period of time.
James Plummer has Multiple Sclerosis. In 2010 he and his wife purchased a luxury apartment with an on-site leisure club that had a heated swimming pool, which James hoped to use regularly as a safe physical activity he could do. There were access difficulties with the leisure club and several requests to the Royal Herbert the management company were refused. In 2014 James submitted costings for the adjustments which came to around £5,000 + VAT. At the same time the management company received a £78,000 rebate on overpaid business rates, but still adaptation requests were refused. Royal Herbert also sent round a survey to residents asking for their opinion on James’s requests while biasing opinion by emphasising cost as a reason for the dispute.
This judgment is important because it shows that some activities of a property management company are not exempt from the Equality Act duty to make reasonable adjustments because they’re a landlord, but some activities may be ‘service provision’, which is not exempt. As well as failing to make adjustments for James’s access needs as a disabled service user, Royal Herbert were found to have a policy of only spending money on the club if it benefited all residents, which disadvantages disabled people more than non-disabled people so is indirectly discriminatory.
Blamires v Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)
Judgment delivered at Leeds Combined Court Centre on 21st June 2017
Outcome: Declaration that the LGO breached Sections 15, 19, 20 and 29 of the Equality Act and the 4th and 7th principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. £12,500 damages (Data Protection breaches £2,500, injury to feelings of £7,500 (which was then middle band) and aggravated damages of £2,500 for how the LGO behaved throughout the legal process) as well as costs.
The LGO lost Blamires’ request for reasonable adjustments to access LGO services when dealing with her complaint against her local council and then refused to meet face to face to resolve issues. Blamires was then unable to effectively make her case against the council.