By Tatiana Zaituni –
A West Yorkshire woman has won the fight over the lack of sign language in the government COVID-19 briefings In England.
Katie Rowley, 36, from Leeds, took legal action against the Cabinet Office and Minister Micheal Gove, claiming it had neglected its legal obligation to interpret and make broadcasted briefing accessible to deaf people.
She wanted a ‘declaration of unlawfulness’ and compensation for ‘injury to feelings’ she said.
The government denied her claim of breaching its legal obligation and said it should be dismissed.
But today, a London-based judge ruled in Ms Rowley’s favour, which could have future implications for people in the deaf community.
Mr Justice Fordham said the lack of British sign language interpretation for data briefings on September 21 and October 12 last year was “discriminatory.”
Since then, British Sign Language interpreters have been used in later COVID-19 broadcast briefings.
Fordham said damages would be assessed by a county court judge, finding that subsequent government briefings were not in breach of equality legislation.
Similar Covid briefings by the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish devolved governments included British Sign Language interpreters on screen.