Peer Support in Court

About our Court Support scheme

We will publish details of cases we’re asked to promote and relevant disability discrimination cases in the UK that we find in the public domain on this webpage and promote them via social media including:

  • Our Reas_Access Twitter account where we will use the hashtag #RACourtSupport..

    Google Calendar of all court support dates

    See details at the bottom of this webpage about what supporting disabled people in court can look like.

    Upcoming cases

    Watch this space or our social media. We will post here if/when things come up.

    Ongoing cases

    Watch this space or our social media. We will post here if/when things come up.

    Completed cases

    We would like to thank everyone who has supported the disabled claimants in a variety of ways both public and private, every little bit of support and solidarity helps, whatever the outcome is

    Where is the Interpreter – group of 276 cases (March to August 2023)

    On 17th March 2023 the County Court struck out the case for being ‘out of time’ because the Claimant’s solicitor Chris Fry (formerly of Fry Law) did not pay the court filing fee for 6.5 months and missed some other vital legal deadlines.

  • Lynn Stewart-Taylor explains the strike out in BSL

  • Natalya summarises the judgment in English

  • Limping Chicken explains the situation in English
  • On 18th April 2023, costs of £37,076.83 were awarded against the claimants which is normal when a case is struck out, especially for not following the proper legal process (delaying payment of court fees and other things).

    The judge clearly knows it is not the claimants’ fault, their solicitor/law firm made many big mistakes. Therefore the judge has agreed to allow the claimants and their new lawyers to apply for a ‘Wasted Costs Order’ against Fry Law Ltd and Chris Fry personally to try and recoup some of those costs. This kind of order can only be applied for with the court’s permission, and evidence that a legal professional has made errors.

    There may be a further hearings in June and July 2023 if Fry Law Ltd or Chris Fry resist the wasted costs order application that is likely to be made against them.

    Claddag – PEEPs (July 2023)

    Unfortunately on 14th July, the High Court ruled that while the government had clearly decided not to implement PEEPs (personal evacuation plans) for disabled residents in blocks of flats well before it was admitted in public, this was a political decision and the court wasn’t permitted to get between the Grenfell Inquiry experts and the government (who preferred the views of landlords and property owners worried about costs).

    This is a devastating decision for disabled rights, showing money talks more than older and disabled people’s safety and lives. However, Claddag point out that while we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, it has opened up conversations in public and fire safety spaces about disabled people’s safety, right to safe evacuations and that stay-in-place is not appropriate.

  • Claddag’s update on the GoFundMe page (easier to understand)
  • Claddag’s official update on the court ruling
  • Disability News Service writeup of court outcome
  • The full High Court judgment Rennie & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWHC 1794 (Admin) (14 July 2023) on Bailii.
  • We recommend you follow @Claddag on Twitter.

    Video explaining the issues by ITV during the hearings

    Government’s Disability Strategy – Court of Appeal (July 2023)

    Unfortunately on 11th July 2023 the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court judgment that ruled the government’s disability strategy was unlawful.

  • Bindmans (disabled claimants’ solicitors) statement
  • Disability News Service writeup of Appeal Court ruling about the strategy and consultation
  • Full Court of Appeal judgment about the disability strategy and consultation on Bailii
  • Doug Paulley: London Bus refusal (April 2023)

    Doug has settled with GoAhead the bus company whose bus driver did not open the doors to the pavement as the defendants made a Part 36 offer and Doug did not think a court would award better (recipients of a Part 36 offer can become liable for costs if the court does not award the same or higher).

    Legacy Benefits (Jan 2023)

    Sadly the legacy benefits Appeal hearing was not successful, the court ruled on 17th Jan 2023 that it was lawful not to give people on legacy benefits as much as those on Universal Credit. Disability News Service has more info and full judgment from Bailii

    Power of supporters in court

    We at Reasonable Access have seen the power that peer-support from disabled people and allies in and around court can have for individuals and disability rights. There are a range of ways you can request and offer support before, during and after court cases at the top of this page.

    Benefits of offering support with court cases

    There can be a range of benefits to supporting a disabled person dealing with a court case including:

    1. A chance to learn more about how the law operates, what it is good for, what it’s rubbish for, how courts operate and how you may or may not want to use the law and courts for yourself.
    2. Being part of a wider group. Each person who takes a disability discrimination case is part of a wider movement towards improved rights for disabled people. The legal system forces disabled people to act individually, but this is not an individual fight. Support from disabled and non-disabled people can make a difference.
    3. The courts and the other side see again and again that disabled people taking cases are not alone.

    Whatever support any of us can offer, we need to make sure that we follow the lead of the person whose case it is. This means providing support in whatever way that person (or group of people) want to be supported.

    There have been some recent high profile cases such as #WhereIsTheInterpreter and #LittleMix where deaf people and allies has been and continues to be a valuable part of the wider publicity and campaign.

    Support before the hearing

    Before a hearing there are a number of ways you can help if the case-person wants it, including:

    • Keeping someone company while they do case preparation.
    • Helping someone with research, especially if you have academic library access or any admin skills.
    • Practical help like stapling documents together or proofreading.
    • Listening to someone talk about their case and how it is affecting them.
    • Bringing or sending meals, snacks or treats.
    • Promoting the case on social media and in your communities.
    • Encouraging or helping other people join in with support.

    Support on the court day

    Attending the hearing as an observer

    Courts are almost always legally required to allow members of the public to attend court hearings as observers. This can be in-person, by phone or online using a video platform.

    Hearings can range in length from 15 minutes through to several days. Even attending for a part of that time can be extremely valuable.

    We will be sharing details of upcoming hearings and requests for observers and how observers can access the hearings by X¬.

    Other court-day support

    Taking the lead from the person whose case it is; there are a range of things that supporters can do including:

      • Helping the court-case person plan for their hearing.
      • Meeting before the hearing (in-person or online) to provide emotional support.
      • Helping out in practical ways like coordinating food and drink.
      • Keeping the court-person company during the inevitable waiting around times.

    If you are the person requesting court-day support, you can practice asking your supporters to give you the support that you need and want or indeed stating what you don’t want. It is your court-case, you get to decide what support you want and have the right to expect the supporters to follow your lead.

    Supporters communication channels

    Often supporters for a court case have a shared online chat (usually text based) such as a WhatsApp group or Slack or Signal channel (which may or may not include the court-person) for sharing thoughts, asking questions and supporting one another.

    Sometimes before or after court hearing there will be meetups of supporters in a cafe or pub (with or without the court-person, as they choose). This can be helpful for discussing what happened, debriefing, asking and answering questions.