Lawyers win disability case

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Sheffield lawyers have won a key case at the Court of Appeal which could be significant for all disabled people.

A team from Sheffield Law Centre, on Joiner Street, Wicker, represented a profoundly deaf man whose home was raided three times for drugs in 2010 and 2011.

Police knew his condition from previous dealings with him. But officers on the raids did not use qualified British Sign Language interpreters, instead making do with lip-reading and writing on pieces of paper and with the help of the man’s wife.

The man won his case of disability discrimination after the Master of the Rolls ruled BSL was a language in its own right. The Master stressed police must make reasonable adjustments for deaf people in advance, not dealing with situations as they arose.

He overruled the trial judge in the original case - although an overall guilty verdict was allowed to stand on the facts of the case.

Douglas Johnson, equality rights worker at Sheffield Law Centre, said: “The judgement has helped to clarify the law.”