Legal system failing People with Disabilites


  I have been a voluntary advocate for about fourteen years. Due to my disabilities it is difficult to get a job that fits around my health and care needs (…trust me I have tried). Having a background in legislative investigations, prior to my disability becoming a facto, has given me a good grounding in understanding and interpreting disability related legislation whether, care act, ESA, PIP, Social care, NHS or many others including the Equality Act.

Most of my time I work with individuals who seem to be let down by the systems in place to help them, whether its local complaint procedures for Local Authorities, NHS or other GOV agencies. These organisations may even have paid advocacy services, but their advice is limited and they will generally go only so far. People working in these sectors are very wary of the hands that feed them, one reason I have never applied for funding. Another time I worked for one for a few years and I was told by a superior that I did too much for much the clients.

Even when you know the law, it is in black and white, add appropriate case references and arguments, most government and local authorities or NHS departments will slow the process down so much. Many people just are exhausted by it. Even if you do get an answer saying that is our final answer, what options are left?

You potentially have the Ombudsman services, neither again are quick or seem to have basic understanding of the actual damage and hurt involved, with organisations often getting away with it as long as the right boxes have been ticked. Very little in my experience is actually investigated. Again with the length of time taken (COVID-19, the latest reasoning, but it was not much better before) you will be lucky to get an answer within a couple of years. They even have a system of going through the files your case before being actually passed through for investigation, which sometimes takes six months to get an answer to whether they will take your case.

Where does that leave people? Legal aid? The government virtually all but stopped any support from that end. Some excellent legal firms do take on cases but again they are inundated.

What worries me more, is that the governments attitudes to equalities and rights, and the recent steps they have taken (unsuccessfully to date) to curb the courts powers on judicial reviews, which is one of the only ways left to actually challenge the government. These cases are not cheap more often than not requiring barristers and costs are well outside the average person’s reach. You might even win yet our authorities seem to think its fine just ignoring it (Norfolk case).

In the rush to make the markets king, we are losing our very reasoning behind what is left of our humanity. Everyday I read cases of neglect of elderly, disabled and vulnerable people being ignored and having very little hope. There’s a quote that I often think about “a society will be judged by the way it treats it is vulnerable”. How do you think we should be judged? After all, are we not the society in question? Or are we to leave it to all for themselves? In which case, do we even have a right to be even called a society? If we continue the way we are, will we still have legal right for a judgement and hope of justice or will we allow parliament and its current views on economic stability to be the final say on this matter?



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