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Taking service providers to court: people with learning disabilities and Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Lerpiniere, J.A. and Stalker, Kirsten (2009) Taking service providers to court: people with learning disabilities and Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. ISSN 1354-4187

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    Despite evidence of poor service provision for people with learning disabilities in the UK (e.g. DRC, Code of practice. Rights of access: services to the public, public authority functions, private clubs and premises. London: The Stationery Office, 2006; Sloan, J Inform Law Tech [electronic journal], 2001), very little use has been made of Part III (Goods, Facilities and Services) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 by people with learning disabilities (personal communication, Disability Rights Commission Conciliation Management Unit). Difficulties faced by individuals who might consider pursuing a claim against a service provider are well-documented and include stress, time and financial constraints (Crit Soc Policy, 20: 533-549, 2000). Once a complaint has been made or a claim lodged other legislative barriers can make it difficult to pursue a case (Industr Law J, 32: 164-184, 2003). The aim of this article is to investigate the effectiveness of legislative use of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in promoting equality for people with learning disabilities. Effectiveness will be gauged through analysis of the legal process engaged in by two people with learning disabilities who made claims against service providers under Part III of this Act.