A Legal Defence Fund to Secure Access4all in UK Entertainment Venues
A Legal Defence Fund to Secure Access4all in UK Entertainment Venues
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We are 3 deaf mothers who are fighting to help change public entertainment for the better, to ensure that deaf people have the chance to fully enjoy concerts and festivals with family and friends.
We need your support to raise the funds needed for the proposed £100,000 adverse legal costs i.e. the cost if we lose. This will enable us to continue our legal action to ensure that promoters and venues are proactive in making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. Please contribute now and most importantly share this page with your friends and family and on social media.
We are a group of three deaf mothers who wanted to enjoy a music concert with our children as a birthday celebration. However, we struggled to get the most basic access from the event promoter to allow us to enjoy the entertainment in full and to discuss the show with our children after the event.
The three of us are now involved in an on-going legal case with LHG Live Limited.
This is because we were not provided with a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter for the whole concert.
We were unable to enjoy all of the concert, we could not access the first section of the performance which left us feeling disengaged.
If we hadn’t had the support of Fry Law before the event, we don't think we could have secured the BSL Interpreter at all. This legal challenge is essential to create a level playing field for deaf audiences who have every right to attend and to be engaged in musical performances.
We want all deaf people to be able to have full access to events when they buy a ticket for live music and entertainment.
90% of deaf parents have hearing children (Connor, 2014). We want to ensure that all deaf people, including deaf parents are able to enjoy events with their children, enabling them to have access to the lyrics and chat about the concert afterwards.
Most of all, we want to make sure that events are fully inclusive.
"The Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) believes that access to all services and areas of social life is a fundamental right enshrined in UK legislation. This case highlights the importance of the provision of professional, qualified sign language interpreters for UK Deaf citizens. It has traditionally been areas of life such as health, education and employment where these rights are observed and most often met. This case emphasises that participating in the social, artistic and performance activities of our society is also crucial to the wellbeing of all individuals and their interactions with friends and family.
Furthermore, ASLI believes that Deaf people should not have to resort to legal means such as injunctions (in this case) in order to secure access to goods, services or events. That such access was only given to Sally after such an intervention and then for that access to fail to meet any standard of equality adds insult to injury. ASLI hopes that the result of any court case on this matter is that service providers such as LHG Live Limited meet their obligations and responsibilities to Deaf UK citizens as a matter of course, not only under duress."
Andy Carmichael, Chair of ASLI Board
This case is heading to court
LHG Live Limited have claimed that their legal costs will be £100,000 and that we need to pay this should we lose!
As three small families, we simply cannot raise these funds by ourselves. To stand down from this challenge would allow for continued inequality and disregard to vulnerable members of society.
We are working with Crowd Justice to help meet this cost and invite you to make as much of a donation as you can to support our case and ensure that the Equality Act has teeth.
If you are unable to offer a financial donation, we would appreciate you sharing the campaign with your networks. Tweets, shares, and re-posts really do help us to raise awareness!
In September 2017, Sarah, Vikki and I attended a Little Mix concert with our daughters.
We asked LHG Live Limited to provide a BSL Interpreter in the summer of 2017, several weeks before the concert. They were put in touch with a specialist agency who provide BSL Interpreters for live music and entertainment.
LHG Live Limited refused to make this provision. They gave us no reason for their decision as to why they could not provide a BSL Interpreter. The company repeatedly told us that we could bring someone to sign for us with our carers tickets. We turned down the offer of carers tickets, they were of no use to us and this was not the access that we needed.
LHG Live Limited then told us that this was the end of the matter and offered a refund on our tickets. Despite the poor customer service we had received, we did not want to miss out on the concert. The tickets had been booked as a birthday gift and the girls were so excited! If we had taken the refund, they would have been devastated.
Read the full story here
With support from Chris Fry, we were able to get an injunction which would have forced LHG Live Ltd to provide a BSL interpreter. This case went to court the day before the concert, but the injunction was dropped because LHG Live Ltd finally agreed to provide a BSL interpreter, but only for Little Mix.
If LHG Live Limited had complied with its duties under the Equality Act and engaged with the interpreting agency at the initial point of contact, then the whole concert would have been interpreted, including the support acts.
Our position now
We have joined forces with Catherine Casserley, a barrister and an expert in disability discrimination. Our entire legal team is working for us on a No Win No Fee basis.
LHG Live Limited is disputing our claim that the concert should be fully accessible. We are challenging their claims that:
- A BSL Interpreter was not necessary because we can lipread, and that we had a clear sight line to the stage.
- That two of us have a cochlear implant which would have enabled us to follow the concert.
- The provision of a BSL Interpreter can lead to a worse experience rather than a better one for deaf people.
If we win this case, the funds that we raise will be used to support other disability discrimination cases. It will also set a precedent and have an impact for all customers and service users who have a disability.
What happens if we don’t raise the funds?
If we cannot raise the £100,000 we have been asked for, the three of us will be jointly liable for the legal costs.
The case will still go ahead because we believe very strongly that everyone, regardless of disability, should be entitled to fair and equitable access. That said, £100,000 is a daunting sum of money when you have a family and we are trying to mitigate the risk as much as possible.
How can you help?
It would be amazing if you were able to donate any amount of money to help us to cover our adverse costs threat.
Just as important – we need you to tell as many people about our case and share the link to this page so that we can attract as much funding as possible, as quickly as possible.
We will face LHG Live Limited in court in a matter of months, it is essential that we have the legal costs behind us to run our case and get our 'voices' heard. We all have rights under the Equality Act, we want to ensure no other deaf individual or family has to undergo such a ‘David versus Goliath’ challenge every time they buy a ticket for an event.
Thank you very much for your support!
Sally, Sarah & Vikki
Special thanks and acknowledgements go to the following for their support:
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