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RE: legal responsibility

From: Denise Wood <Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 03:01:21 +0930
Message-ID: <E1962E8F1DF0D411878300A0C9ACB0F90246418F@exstaff4.magill.unisa.edu.au>
To: "''w3c-wai-ig@w3.org' '" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Julian and others

Obviously someone like Martin is the best positioned to answer your query given
his knowledge of UK law and the DDA in particular. As I have come to expect
from my past observations on this mail list, Martin has responded with a very
comprehensive answer.

While I do not have Martin's legal knowledge, my experiences in Australia with
respect to our DDA are certainly consistent with Martin's advice. As far as I
am aware, the organisation or company that purchases the product (be that
off-the-shelf or custom developed) is responsible for that decision if it then
applies the product and is the subject of a complaint on the grounds of the
lack of accessibility of that product. As Martin points out - the organisation
may have some claim against the developer of the product but only if as Martin
points out the developer misled the client or in the case of a custom developed
application, failed to meet the specifications.

However, my understanding is that you as the service provider is ultimately the
one responsible as far as the DDA is concerned. Bob's advice is sound. If you
are commissioning a product ensure the accessibility requirements are clearly
specified or if purchasing an off-the-shelf package check it out thoroughly
before purchase. At least then you may have some come-back with the supplier if
you are the subject of a complaint on the basis of the lack of accessibility of
a service that relies on the product.

Simon makes a really important point about trying to negotiate with the
developers to see if they will make the required changes. We have had some
success in our endeavors with a particular package and the developer has
benefited because the product will be Section 508 compliant in the next


-----Original Message-----
From: Scarlett Julian (ED)
To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
Sent: 4/16/2002 9:44 PM
Subject: legal responsibility

Hi all

does anyone know what the position is re third party web applications
within a website that fall foul of the accessibility requirements of the
(UK Disability Discrimination Act).

we have bought an asp application with style and javascript nav menu
wired into a vb dll which makes it impossible for us to modify anything
fit into our corporate standards. Are we legally responsible for the use
that application or can we pass the buck to the application developers?
our only course of action to pay for the vb source to make the necessary
modifications ourselves.

I feel that this is probably an important topic for local government
buying apps off-the-shelf is seen as a quick option to satisfying other
targets set by central government.

Julian Scarlett
Web Design & Document Management System Officer
Education Directorate 
Sheffield City Council
0114 2735721
mob 07904914976

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Received on Wednesday, 17 April 2002 13:31:25 UTC

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