020 7650 1200

Disabled prisoner receives settlement for discrimination and breach of human rights

A severely disabled prisoner has received compensation for the discrimination he suffered because of his disabilities while serving a nine-month prison sentence.

Posted on 10 November 2020

The 55-year-old claimant used a wheelchair and faced significant difficulties performing his daily tasks and fully participating in important parts of prison life while he was incarcerated during 2019.

The prison was made aware of his disabilities and the difficulties they created for him while living in the prison environment. His difficulties included:

  • Entering and manoeuvring his wheelchair inside his cell
  • Using toilet and showering facilities
  • Cleaning his cell, collecting his meals and moving around the prison
  • Accessing work and library opportunities.

The claimant repeatedly raised the issues with the prison, but still little was done to assist him.
The claimant instructed Leigh Day’s prison team to act for him in a claim for compensation. Before his release from prison, Leigh Day wrote to the Government setting out the issues faced by him. 

The claim was brought under the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 and alleged that the Ministry of Justice had unlawfully discriminated against the claimant by failing to take reasonable steps to avoid the substantial disadvantage that he suffered.

After the claimant had been released from prison, the Ministry of Justice eventually accepted that it had unlawfully discriminated against the claimant by failing to take reasonable steps to avoid the substantial disadvantage that he had suffered. It settled his claim for discrimination and a breach of his human rights suffered during his imprisonment and paid the claimant a sum of compensation.

Leigh Day solicitor Benjamin Burrows, who represented the claimant, said:

“I am pleased that the prison has finally accepted that they failed our client. However, it is frustrating that this was only after his release from prison and after the commencement of legal proceedings.

“Unfortunately, the needs of disabled prisoners are too often unmet and overlooked.”

Leigh Day’s prison team have expertise in discrimination matters based upon a variety of protected characteristics. Please contact us if you believe that you or somebody that you know has been subjected to discrimination in prison and you would like Leigh Day to investigate your potential claim.