Court issues injunction to National Bank to make its premises accessible

In a landmark ruling, a judge has ordered a local branch of the Royal bank of Scotland to install a lift to enable wheel chair users to access the premises. This is the first disability discrimination case of its kind where physical changes to a property have been ordered by a court.

The case was brought to court after the plaintiff Mr Allen, could not gain access to his local branch, contrary to information posted on the banks website and premises. In a catalogue of incidents, Mr Allen had to discuss his current account details in the street, breaching his right to confidentiality and causing him significant embarrassment.

The court ruled that the bank had discriminated against Mr Allen by not providing wheel chair access, and that the bank made no serious attempts to make the branch in question accessible to wheelchair users as required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Mr Allen was awarded compensation and changes to the premises were ordered by the court.

John Wadham, Group Director, Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

'When it comes to sensitive matters like our finances, we all value the discretion and security that Bank branches offer.  Why should a wheelchair user be denied this service when all that is needed is a little thought on behalf of a company?  The investment in some common sense facilities for wheelchair users is tiny compared to the reputational benefits for a company that is seen to treat all its customers well.'

The landmark case which received funding from the Equality and Human Rights will no doubt encourage good practise in the area of accessibility, and serve as a warning to those who continue to ignore the issue.


posted by

Asif Yusuf



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