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The duty on service providers

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) made it unlawful for service providers to discriminate against disabled people in certain circumstances. From 1 October 2004 service providers had to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or provide a reasonable means of avoiding, a physical feature which made it impossible or reasonably difficult for disabled people to use a service.

On 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 (EA) replaced most of the DDA). The duty on providers of goods, services and facilities was replaced with a duty to make reasonable adjustments in order to avoid a disabled person being placed at a “substantial disadvantage” compared with non-disabled people when accessing services and facilities.

The EA does not prescribe what a reasonable adjustment might be – this is to be determined by the particular circumstances in each case. 

Enforcing the duty

The person who believes they have experienced disability discrimination as a result of not being able to access a (non-transport related) good, service or facility is, as a general rule, responsible taking enforcement action via the courts against the provider. Local authorities do not have an enforcement role in this context.

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