Free Hybrid Event - Access to Justice for Deaf Communities

Thursday 29 February 2024, 6-7:30pm, followed by networking drinks


This hybrid seminar was brought to you by the Garden Court Community Care and Discrimination Law Teams.

Date: Thursday 29 February 2024
Time: 6pm-7:30pm, followed by drinks & networking
Venue: Chambers & Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Community Care Law , Employment and Discrimination Law , Civil Liberties and Human Rights

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This seminar brought together specialist public law and discrimination practitioners and campaigners to explore the barriers to Deaf communities accessing justice and enforcing their rights. Specific topics that were addressed included:

  • Identifying breaches of legal duties    
  • Enforcement of legal duties, including the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard
  • The practicalities of bringing legal challenges, including funding and costs  
  • Using the law to inform advocacy and campaigning

This was a hybrid seminar with BSL interpretation for both in-person and online attendees.


Matthew Banks, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Matthew is currently undergoing his pupillage at Garden Court Chambers, which he began in October 2023, under the supervision of Una Morris. He looks to specialise in public law and community care law. Matthew holds a degree in Law from the University of Cambridge and a MA in Interpreting: British Sign Language (BSL)/ English. Matthew previously worked as an advocate and BSL interpreter supporting deaf and disabled people for the past 15 years. This includes volunteer roles at St John's Deaf Community Centre and the BSL Act Now! Campaign. 

Nicola Braganza KC, Garden Court Chambers
Nicola is recognised as a leading barrister specialising in Equality and Discrimination Law, Public Law and Human Rights. Her broad practice spans the areas of Employment, Education, Community Care, Immigration and Asylum Law. Nicola sits as a Fee-paid Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and in the Employment Tribunal. She regularly provides training and workshops on Equality and Discrimination law and has been an invited speaker at the European Academy of Law on  EU Directives on Equality and Anti-Discrimination for many years.

Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers
Ollie has a broad public law practice focusing on the rights of children, asylum seekers & migrants and disabled people. He has expertise in discrimination, education, community care, mental health and Court of Protection matters. He is ranked in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 and was a finalist for a ‘Junior of the Year’ award at the Legal 500 Awards 2022 for his work in his core practice areas. Ollie frequently advises Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) regarding public law and equality law issues and represents Deaf children in the SEND Tribunal. He is learning BSL.

Abigail Wright, The National Deaf Children’s Society
After studying Law with French Law at Oxford and Paris Universities, Abigail was called to the Bar in 2000 and practised privately as a barrister in the areas of negligence, personal injury, housing and property law. Having become a mother of a child with complex special needs, Abigail developed a practice in Special Educational Needs and Disability Discrimination Law. Abigail has worked for the National Deaf Children’s Society(NDCS) since 2015, where she is its Legal Consultant. She supports and advises NDCS caseworkers and families of deaf children in complex SEND cases. She is responsible for NDCS’ pro bono legal partnerships, where she has worked on a variety of disability discrimination issues and wider public law challenges involving local authority and government body decision making in the provision of SEND and deaf specialist services.

David Buxton, Chief Executive of Action on Disability
David Buxton, who is Deaf since birth, is Chief Executive of Action on Disability based in Hammersmith and Fulham. He has been 25 years in charity management and local government senior commissioning sectors and previously was Chief Executive of the British Deaf Association and is currently a Board Member of the European Union of the Deaf. He was Britain’s first ever Deaf BSL using elected Borough Councillor in 1990, and then later he was again elected Borough Councillor and also stood for Parliament, three times, lastly 2019 in East Hampshire where he came second. He is co-founder of the Liberal Democrats Disability Association which was set up in 1992 after 2 years of being disability advisor to the late Rt. Hon Paddy Ashdown MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is now Chair of Epsom and Ewell Liberal Democrats, the first ever Deaf BSL using person to lead the local political association. 

David has written and co-written a number of national policy and campaigning reports, the last one was UNCRPD UK Shadow Report 2017 and Equality Act and Deaf People 2017 (House of Lords evidence document). He took legal action against the Government: (a) Access to Work Cap (judicial review 2018, resulting in the Government having to increase the cap by a third to £58k a year); (b) Deaf Juror (pre legal action, eventually led to a series of ministerial and policy discussions resulting a new law introduced in 2022); and (c) Access to the Elected Office Fund (twice pre legal action, eventually led to the re-introduction of Enable Fund replacing AEOF).

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