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Taking on disability discrimination - Lords Committee to hear from people who used the Equality Act 2010 in court

Next week, Tuesday 10 November, the House of Lords Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability will hear from people who have used the legislation in court.

One witness is wheelchair user Doug Paulley, who took bus operator First Group to court after being refused access to a bus when the disabled space was occupied by a baby buggy. The judge at Leeds County Court ruled the operator's policy was unlawful discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010, but the Court of Appeal overturned this decision. It is now listed for appeal to the Supreme Court.

Another witness is Jonathan Fogerty, a solicitor who has handled several cases of alleged discrimination, often under the Equality Act 2010.

Areas that the witnesses will be asked about, at 3.20pm, include:

  • Is it right that, ultimately, the only way disabled people can enforce their rights is through court proceedings initiated by them?
  • Do you agree that tribunal fees and the reduction in legal aid make enforcement of rights through the courts more difficult?
  • Should the Equality and Human Rights Commission do more to support litigants from the outset, or get involved in judicial reviews?
  • What do you think of the power of courts to grant injunctions to compel businesses to make adjustments for wheelchair users?

In a separate session, at around 4.20pm, the Committee will hear from disability campaigner Paul Breckell, who is Chief Executive at Action on Hearing Loss and Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium.

  • Has including disability in a single Equality Act helped or hindered further progress against discrimination?
  • Is greater legal recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) the best way to promote equality for those with hearing loss?
  • How should the cost of making a reasonable adjustment, which in some cases can be significant, be met?
  • What more should the Equality and Human Rights Commission be doing?

The evidence session will take place from 3.20pm, on Tuesday 10 November, in Committee Room 4a of the House of Lords.

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