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Woman wins legal action against government over a lack of sign language during Covid briefings

A DEAF woman who took legal action over a lack of British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters at Tory government Covid-19 briefings won her compensation fight today.

Katie Rowley, 36, from Leeds, took legal action against Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.

Ms Rowley, a self-employed actor and writer, said the government had breached legal obligations to make broadcasts accessible to deaf people.

Ministers disputed this, and lawyers representing Mr Gove said Ms Rowley’s claim should be dismissed.

But, at the High Court, Mr Justice Fordham found that the absence of any BSL interpretation for data briefings on September 21 and October 12 last year constituted discrimination against Ms Rowley.

He said damages would be assessed by a judge in a county court and noted that the government was not “in present or continuing breach.”

Richard Kramer, chief executive of disabilities charity Sense, said: “We hope that this will now lead to the government reviewing its provisions for disabled people to ensure that they have the same access to information as everyone else.”

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