ON APPEAL FROM NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE COUNTY COURT
HIS HONOUR JUDGE WALTON
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE JACKSON
LADY JUSTICE GLOSTER
| BRYAN FINNIGAN
|- and -
|CHIEF CONSTABLE OF NORTHUMBRIA POLICE
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Mr Toby Wynn (instructed by Northumbria Police Legal Services) for the Respondent
Hearing date: 23 July 2013
Crown Copyright ©
Master of the Rolls:
"Starting with the times when the search warrants were being executed, it was accepted on behalf of the Chief Constable that the standard of effective communication applied, for instance, when the search warrants were being executed. When performing that function a police officer is required to explain in a comprehensible manner his authority for the search. I am satisfied that was done on two of the occasions complained of; and insofar as it was not done on the 8th February 2011 that was because the Claimant himself deliberately declined to co-operate in attempting to achieve communication. So, he did indicate that he understood the reasons for their visit on 30 March 2010. He was able to explain that the £400 the officers found was for rent. On 8 February 2011 he was able to give his explanation about the sum of £1,700."
The relevant statutory provisions
"(1) It is unlawful for a public authority to discriminate against a disabled person in carrying out its functions."
"(2) For the purposes of section 21B(1), a public authority also discriminates against a disabled person if–
(a) it fails to comply with a duty imposed on it by section 21E in circumstances in which the effect of that failure is to make it–
(ii) unreasonably adverse for the disabled person to experience being subjected to any detriment to which a person is or may be subjected,
by the carrying-out of a function by the authority."
"(1) Subsection (2) [to section 21D] applies where a public authority has a practice, policy or procedure which makes it—
(b) unreasonably adverse for disabled persons to experience being subjected to any detriment to which a person is or may be subjected,
by the carrying-out of a function by the authority.
(2) It is the duty of the authority to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for the authority to have to take in order to change that practice, policy or procedure so that it no longer has that effect."
"Failure to observe any provision of a code of practice does not of itself make a person liable to any proceedings, but any provision of a code which appears to a court or tribunal to be relevant to any question arising in any proceedings under Part II or Part III shall be taken into account in determining that question."
"7.7 When a service provider is providing services to its customers, it will have established a particular way of doing this. Its practices (including policies and procedures) may be set out formally, or may have become established informally or through custom. The terms practice, policy or procedure cover:
- what a service provider actually does (its practice);
- what a service provider intends to do (its policy); and
- how a service provider plans to go about it (its procedure).
6.14 A service provider's duty to make reasonable adjustments is a duty owed to disabled people at large. It is not simply a duty that is weighed in relation to each individual disabled person who wants to access a service provider's services…
6.16 Service providers should not wait until a disabled person wants to use a service that they provide before they give consideration to their duty to make reasonable adjustments……"
"I reject the submission that reasonable adjustment requires the attendance of an interpreter whenever a search warrant is to be executed at the premises of someone known to be without hearing and speech. That seems unreasonably wide in effect and goes beyond the scope of the present case, which is whether on these present facts an interpreter was required. Nevertheless I accept points made on behalf of the Chief Constable that it would be unreasonable to have a system whereby interpreters attended premises to be searched, but only entered once the premises had been checked and secured. By that time most of the meaningful exchanges with any deaf occupier would have been completed. Moreover I agree that on the occasion of some searches speed and confidentiality are vital and would be at risk if the Chief Constable was required to notify interpreters in advance.
Mr Finnigan's case in a nutshell
What is the relevant PPP?
Duty to make reasonable adjustments
Decision on this appeal
Lord Justice Jackson:
Lady Justice Gloster: