A few years ago the RNIB was involved in 2 county court cases;
The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) is the first organization in the UK to take legal action against a company in violation for the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
‘There has recently been some interest around The Royal National Institute of the Blind’s (RNIB’s) involvement in Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) cases relating to accessible websites. RNIB has recently been involved in two such cases, one of which was the subject of county court proceedings, and which settled in July 2003; these are the first court proceedings which they are aware of that related in any way to the provision of a service on the web.
These cases have now been resolved: both the clients and RNIB are content with the settlements that were reached. RNIB will continue to use the DDA in particular to issue proceedings on behalf of blind and partially sighted people in court for breaches of the Act where these breaches cannot be resolved without such action.
The clients involved in these two cases do not wish to comment further. Currently RNIB is working on potential cases involving website accessibility on behalf of other blind and partially sighted people under the DDA. We are unable to comment on the details of these potential cases at the moment but may be able to in future.
The word clients in this statement means blind and partially sighted people and not companies or businesses.’
So what happens if your website design is not accessible?
Unsurprisingly, you leave yourself open to criticism, bad press and and more seriously legal action if your site is not accessible.
A disabled person can make a claim against you if your website makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult to access information and services. If you have not made reasonable adjustments and cannot show that this failure is justified, then you may be liable under the Act, and may have to pay compensation and be ordered by a court to change your site. RNIB 2005
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