Conflicting wheelchair accessibility court cases to be heard at Court of Appeal

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Court of Appeal where the two cases will be heard The Court of Appeal where the two cases will be heard

TWO conflicting court cases addressing wheelchair accessibility will be heard at the Court of Appeal.

In May, Arriva North-East won a landmark court case after being accused of discriminating against disabled people.

The company was being sued by several disabled people who claimed they had experienced discrimination, including being denied access to buses when wheelchair spaces were occupied by other passengers.

But Judge Peter Bowers at Teesside County Court ruled it had not breached the Equality Act with its “first come first served” policy and had not left wheelchair users at a “substantial disadvantage” over able-bodied passengers.

However in September, a similar case involving a wheelchair user was heard in Leeds County Court with the judge ruling that wheelchair users had a legal right to have priority over other bus users to wheelchair space.

As a result, a judge sitting in the Court of Appeal Civil Division, in London, has decided the two conflicting decisions need further consideration, in a case that is set to become the first and leading case on accessible transport.

Chris Fry, a lawyer at Unity Law who represented the disabled passengers in both cases said: “We are pleased that the issue of who should have priority over the wheelchair spaces on buses will now be considered by a panel of senior judges.

“It’s an opportunity for the thousands of wheelchair users in the UK to finally get a definitive answer on this issue.”

Comments (2)

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12:32pm Thu 19 Dec 13

sarahd says...

Surely though, they cannot refuse able bodied people the space just on the off chance a disabled person may get on at a later bus stop. Also, they cannot let an able bodied person to board then tell them to get off if a disabled person needs the space.

Disabled people are always fighting for equal rights. Able bodied people are on a first come first served basis so why not the disabled people?

If disabled people do get priority over able bodied people, isn't that discrimination against the able bodied?
Surely though, they cannot refuse able bodied people the space just on the off chance a disabled person may get on at a later bus stop. Also, they cannot let an able bodied person to board then tell them to get off if a disabled person needs the space. Disabled people are always fighting for equal rights. Able bodied people are on a first come first served basis so why not the disabled people? If disabled people do get priority over able bodied people, isn't that discrimination against the able bodied? sarahd

5:18pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Singh717 says...

You completely misunderstand the concept of equal rights and twist it. Disabled people require this legislation to enable them to actually use the bus at all. Equal rights for disabled people means the opportunity to access facilities that disabled people take for granted. Your comment 'priority over able bodied people....discrimina
tion against the able-bodied' is absolutely ridiculous. For example. disabled spaces are often taken by prams. Disabled people do not choose to be disabled. Wheelchair users cannot walk. Do you resent ensuring that disabled people are not excluded from society? It sure sounds like it.
You completely misunderstand the concept of equal rights and twist it. Disabled people require this legislation to enable them to actually use the bus at all. Equal rights for disabled people means the opportunity to access facilities that disabled people take for granted. Your comment 'priority over able bodied people....discrimina tion against the able-bodied' is absolutely ridiculous. For example. disabled spaces are often taken by prams. Disabled people do not choose to be disabled. Wheelchair users cannot walk. Do you resent ensuring that disabled people are not excluded from society? It sure sounds like it. Singh717

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