You planned to complain so your complaint isn’t valid
Often when disabled people complain about poor access, Respondents will claim that our complaint isn’t valid because we “planned” to complain.
Legally this is not true – it is lawful to plan to visit an inaccessible service and make an Equality Act or DDA complaint if it is not accessible.
Firstly a binding Court of Appeal judgment in Roads v Central Trains:
- Paragraph 2 introduces Mr Roads as a disabled wheelchair user.
- Paragraphs 19 and 20 show Mr Roads gave notice of his plan to access the inaccessible service and request an adjustment which triggered off the case.
- Paragraph 30 says that the fact Mr Roads ‘generated’ the evidence by planning to access a known inaccessible service was not relevant, and if anything confirmed that the service provider might only occasionally need to arrange an expensive adjustment.
Secondly in Esther Leighton’s non binding County Court Leighton v Kahraman judgment paragraphs 21 and 22, which say that the Respondent’s belief that Esther Leighton intentionally targeted several service providers is legally irrelevant. The issue is that if a disabled person tries to get access, and the service provider has not made reasonable adjustments, then it is reasonable for the disabled person to take an Equality Act (or DDA) claim.
How to deal with accusations of premeditation
We recommend directing Respondents to read the above legal judgments.
If things go to court, do stress the binding Roads v Central Trains judgment and include full copies of both judgments (which are available at the links) in your legal bundle or skeleton arguments.