Sheffield Law Centre victory sees new police guidelines on disability

Thursday, October 10th 2013

In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeals used a Deaf man's case to issue new guidelines to police forces for changing their procedures.

Bryan Finnigan's home was raided several times by Northumbria Police. Despite knowing from previous encounters that Mr Finnigan was Deaf, the police took no BSL interpreter with them, relying instead on his lip-reading and scribbled notes. 

In his ruling, Lord Justice Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, found that the police had acted unlawfully by failing to make 'reasonable adjustments' for Mr Finnigan's deafness, as required of them by law. The judge used his judgment to also lay down guidelines for future practice by police forces.

Representing Mr Finnigan was Douglas Johnson of Sheffield Law Centre, who said: "The judgement has helped to clarify the law and make it easier to apply in future cases, not just for deaf people but for any disabled person with a ‘reasonable adjustments’ case.”  

Read the full judgement on BAILII here.