Deaf lawyer is denied interpreter in court
A deaf lawyer has won a landmark settlement against a Peterborough court which refused to allow him the use of a sign language interpreter. Jonathan Gibbons has been profoundly deaf since birth but he said staff at Peterborough County Court made no provision for his disability.
It is the first case of its kind where a court has been challenged for failing to provide an interpreter.
Mr Gibbons, a legal adviser for Hands on Access Ltd, brought a case against the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) for unlawful disability discrimination.
Two weeks before Mr Gibbons was due to represent his company at a hearing on June 18, 2004, he contacted the court and requested that a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter and a note taker be available – a standard procedure in courts up and down the country.
But Mr Gibbons said court staff bluntly turned down his request.