Know your rights
The Equality Act (2010) is a law that was created to make sure that all people are treated fairly. This includes people who have a disability, and Deaf BSL users. The law tells companies how to make sure that their services are fair and equal for all people to use. The law says that companies should make ‘reasonable’ changes for disabled people to be treated equally, for example, booking a BSL interpreter for Deaf customers. If you need to see a solicitor, for example, they should pay for an interpreter and not ask you to pay. Companies are not allowed to ask a Deaf customer to bring a friend or family to help with communication. Only a qualified interpreter can make sure that you understand all the information. If a solicitor refuses to pay for an interpreter, you can report them to the Solicitors Regulation Authority who will look at why they have not treated you fairly.
If you want more information, please come to Deaf Direct and we can support you.
It’s Chapter 2 which is Equality and Diversity, Outcomes 2.3 which says:
“you make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled clients, employees or managers are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled, and you do not pass on the costs of these adjustments to these disabled clients, employees or managers;”
I also quoted from the Equalities Act (which someone sent me):
“Under sections 20 and 29 Equality Act 2010, Deaf people who use sign language have a legal right to request a fully qualified British Sign Language interpreter in the provision of legal advice (as a service to the public) to assist with their communication needs, as a reasonable adjustment.
It is the lawyers responsibility to book and pay for the interpreter, not the Deaf client (section 20(7) Equality Act)
Unless a Deaf person specifically tells you that they want a family member or friend to interpret for them, under no circumstances should you ask. Using a fully qualified interpreter ensures information is translated clearly meaning the client can make fully informed decisions and the lawyer give accurate advice.”
The Solicitors Regulation Authority told me that if the solicitors still refuse to pay, they can be reported to the SRA and they will be investigated.