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Legal status of WCAG Re: Who needs what ...

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:34:07 +0300
To: "Harry Loots" <harry@ikhaya.com>, "RUST Randal" <RRust@covansys.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <opsc8ti5jsw5l938@widsith.local>

This is too simplified to be accurate.

The Australian government has a policy for itself, that it will get its  
sites to meet WCAG.

But if you go to court (actually you go through some stages, but I think  
the phrase communicates the right idea) you will be tested against some  
law that says "you must not discriminate". In the notes that explain the  
law, one of the things they say is "the best guidance we have for how to  
avoid discriminating is to follow WCAG". That is, they are not sure, in  
advance, of how to decide whether you discriminated. That has to be tested  
in each circumstance. They ssupect that if you haven't done what WCAG  
asks, you probably are discriminating, and if you have done it, you are at  
least doing what is recognised as the right thing to avoid it. If you meet  
WCAG a complaint can still succeed on the basis that you need to do  
something more, but you are unlikely to be faced with a damages claim. If  
you don't meet WWCAG the court is mor likely to decide that you are  
discriminating on purpose, by not meeting the common community standard of  
reasonable behaviour, and you may face a damages claim.

I am pretty sure that the situation is similar in the UK and I would be  
surprised (altugh I have enver read canadian law) if it is much different  
in Canada.

This is a very potted version of how it works - check with a lawyer. (Note  
that no lawyer will give you a straight answer about whether you are  
discriminating, since they will have to wait for it to be tested in court.  
ut thye might give you an opibnion about how likely some decision is in  



On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 16:18:00 +0100, Harry Loots <harry@ikhaya.com> wrote:

> But currently UK, Australian, Canadian, and various other governments  
> ascribe
> to the WCAG as being the rules by which they may determine if a web site  
> is
> accessible or not.
> If we throw the little bit of leverage we have out the door, through  
> making it
> so ambigious that even non-legal person will find a myriad of loopholes  
> in any
> sentence then we may as well say to people with disabilities - "We've  
> given up
> - it is now your problem; fight your own fight; we don't care!!!"
> I, for one, won't lie down until i know that we've achieved as close as
> possible to unversal access - the way that the web was intended to be!!!

Charles McCathieNevile         charles@sidar.org
FundaciĆ³n Sidar             http://www.sidar.org
Received on Tuesday, 24 August 2004 15:34:45 UTC

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