Seventeen year old David Allen who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and lives in Sheffield has taken the Royal Bank of Scotland to court and won, after his local branch broke the law by failing to make their building accessible. The bank have since been ordered to install suitable access to the building and Mr. Allen was awarded £6,500 in damages.
Judge John Dowse ruled that the bank had breached the Disability Discrimination Act and said: “The bank has made errors in this case causing David considerable embarrassment. It has not covered itself in glory.”
Speaking after the case, Mr. Allen said: “I’m glad justice has been done. I only wanted them to comply with the law and provide disabled access so I could get into my bank like my friends.”
The ruling of Judge John Dowse is seen by legal experts to have set a precedent with implications for all service providers. A civil law discrimination specialist, barrister Declan O’Dempsey said: “Bigger companies now know it is up to them to anticipate the needs of all their customers. They cannot assume that because they have made changes to some premises, their obligations end there.”
John Wadham, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “David could have settled for a behind-the-scenes sum of money but he stood by his principles and his tenacity will mean a great number of disabled people will benefit”.
A spokesperson for the bank said: “RBS strongly disagrees with the court’s judgement and will accordingly be pursuing its right of appeal.”