Adam George and Adverse Costs Protection in Equality Claims

For some time we have been concerned at the lack of financial protection for claimants looking to enforce the rights provided to them under the Equality Act. We have been campaigning for the same protection against adverse costs at the highest level, including by visits to Downing Street and the Ministry of Justice, but to date it remains the case that if a personal injury claim fails there are typically no costs liabilities to the Claimant whilst in claims for disability discrimination there are.

This is patently unfair, and is at its most acutely unfair in the case of Adam George v Flambards in which we were instructed. Adam needed a Changing Places toilet facility at the Flambards theme park but was initially refused. After issuing Court proceedings they subsequently installed facilities. Despite at face value succeeding with the action, our opponents identified that the Court did not have a key document on file and that as a consequence the Court had struck the case out. The Court did not make any Order and Flambards’ Solicitors proceeded to obtain an Order requiring Adam to pay their costs.

This was sharp practice. Flambards’ Solicitors knew that the document existed because it had received a copy from us. We filed a statement with evidence that the document had been sent to the Court and we attempted to overturn the Order. We were unsuccessful in that application, and although we considered the decision to be appeal-able the costs risk against the reward, given that the case had substantially succeeded in any event meant that we had to advise Adam’s Mum to accept the strike out.

Litigation is inherently risky, and although we have a very high success rate, have achieved many positive precedents including a Supreme Court precedent, sometimes cases that should win, lose. It is these cases, like Adam’s which stay with us forever because they feel unjust.

In 10 years of bringing disability discrimination cases we have only known 2 failed cases where the service provider has enforced a Costs Order. This one seems particularly unfair, morally. Applying for a Charging Order against Adam’s home seems a particularly ugly and aggressive strategy.

We stand with Adam and have been working hard to resolve this behind the scenes. Whilst large service providers are typically insured for legal costs, disabled people rarely are.

So, this is what we’ve decided to do about it. Firstly, we are going to settle this debt to Flambards on Adam’s behalf. Secondly, we are establishing a fund to provide all Fry Law clients with costs protection in discrimination cases to give disabled people greater confidence in access to justice and in particular to do our part to level the playing field when enforcing their rights to a more inclusive and accessible society.

We will also redouble our #equaljustice campaign for a change to the rules which create such a disadvantage to disabled people in particular.

About the Author

Chris Fry

Chris is the founder of Fry Law.

4 Comments

  1. sarah lobb

    thank you for helping adam against flambards and for helping highlight the issue everyone needs to be able to use a toilet

  2. Clare Mcanulty

    Thank you for what you have done to help families like mine and I know this hasn’t been done for recognition but stories like this should be shared. Well done!

  3. Rosi

    Thanks for your support and positive action regarding this issue. It’s is astonishing that flambards would risk such bad press and it feels immoral to persecute a young person who simply wants to visit the theme park and have access to a suitable loo. What you have done does not change the stress caused or the problem facing people who are dealing with discrimination every day, but it does help keep the faith, encourage people not to give up and means a lot to Adams family who need their energy to help support him daily. Thank you.

  4. Anna Jeronymides

    Well said. Councils commit criminal acts, that they know they are in breach of, and undoubtely happy to risk the few clients that muster the energy against all odds and their difficult situations, to get any Legal Aid in the first place, to get anything but clever ploys, strategies and tactics to avoid facing the consequences of their serious failures and criminal acts, to lie, to mislead and to fabricate whatever it suits their needs and conveniences to do, to avoid taking responsibility and any successful actions against their serious failures and crimes, and always in a priveleged position, as professionals and systems, who have the force of their organisation against us, and who only ever add insult to injury, scandalise and penalise those who dare to challenge them. Transparency does not exist, obligations, responsibilities, duty of care, duty of candour does not exist. Disgusting self serving self protecting professionals and Systems of Authorised Systematic Neglect and Abuse that only ever serve to protect themselves and the systems they serve and will stop at nothing to achieve their own disgusting goals and outcomes, crimes against people and their lives, using whatever strategies, dirty tricks, ploys and tactics they can, their armoury, the war waged against vulnerable people and families, that destroys our world and our lives. What use is a parent, exhausted, destroyed and distressed and consumed with suffering and pain of all they are forced to experience, suffer, swallow and witness in their lifes battles with these unscrupulous criminals, and that only ever adds insult to injury, obstructed and thwarted in your efforts for nothing more than your child/adolescent/adult offspring Needs and cannot be without, at any given time in their lives, and instead be condemned in health and wellbeing, life, living and learning and the quality and span of it. Do we really Need these dreadful systems at all, they only work to represent and protect their own interests and to scandalise us in the process to cause further harm, damage and detriment and interfering with our daily lives, and to no doubt commit their ultimate crimes against us.

    Other than Investigative Journalism what is there any hope of ever changing, to expose it for what it is a Criminally Insane System of Authorised Systematic Neglect and Abuse of very vulnerable disabled people and their families, propped up and supported by the professionals, the Managers, the Chief Execs, the NHS and all the systems for and by the NHS, Sociual Services and Education Services, local and National Health and its regulators, local and national Government etc etc The Mental Capacity Act and Safeguarding are very useful to these systems to serve to protect their own interests, needs and conveniences, to take control and avoid the truth ever coming to light. I doubt we’ll survive the coming onslaught, having managed to avoid previous ones with their disgusting practices and ploys, past and present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *