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18 Rights for Disabled People

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

3. What the law says

4. What counts as a disability

5. When discrimination is allowed

6. Discrimination at work

7. Discrimination when buying and using goods and services

8. Discrimination by public authorities

9. Discrimination by private clubs and associations

10. Discrimination when buying or renting a property

11. Discrimination at school or college

12. What you can doa bout discrimination

13. Going to an employment tribunal (ET)

14. Going to court

If you want to take a case to court, you must start your case within six months minus one day from when the discrimination happened. You can take a case to court if the disability discrimination is about:

  • education at college or university;
  • providing goods and services;
  • a public authority;
  • a private club; or
  • selling, renting or managing property.

The court can give you copies of the claim form N1 and more information about procedures.

If your claim is against a service provider, landlord, public authority or private club, you can use a separate DL56 form, which is for use in the county court, before you start the claim. In county court claims, you must send the form to the other party so that it arrives within six months of the treatment you are complaining about, or within eight months if you have taken your claim to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s conciliation service. If the service provider replies to your questions, you can use that information to decide whether or not to bring a claim or to help prove your case in court.

How will I pay for my case in court?
If your claim is for less than £5,000, it usually counts as a ‘small claim’ and goes along the court’s small claims track, which is far less expensive. Court rules encourage people not to use lawyers for small claims, so you are expected to present your own case. If you do choose to use a lawyer and you win your case, the court would not normally order the other side to pay the lawyer’s costs. The same applies if the other side wins.

If you are claiming more than £5,000 it cannot be counted as a ‘small claim’. You need to think carefully about how you will pay for your case, because the costs can be very high.

If you cannot afford to pay for court action yourself, there are several ways you may be able to get it funded:

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission may take on your case, perhaps as a test case.
  • You may be able to get legal aid, provided you meet certain conditions. See ‘The Community Legal Service’ for how to find out more about this.
  • You may be able to find a solicitor who will take on your case under a ‘no-win, no-fee’ agreement. See the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet ‘No-win, No-Fee Actions’ for more about this.
  • If you are a homeowner, you may have household contents insurance that includes cover for legal expenses.

15. Going to a special educational needs and disability tribunal (Sendist)

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Andrew Short, a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers and specialist in discrimination law.

Leaflet Version: August 2008

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