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

From: Andy Heath <a.k.heath@shu.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:06:34 +0100
Message-ID: <412B678A.4080001@shu.ac.uk>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
CC: Harry Loots <harry@ikhaya.com>, RUST Randal <RRust@covansys.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> 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.

well the situation hasn't really been tested in the UK.
Here the law says you must make reasonable adjustments
but what exactly is reasonable is not determined in
technology terms.  But what you say about not meeting
the common community standard would seem like common
sense and I would *guess* that that is how it would be
interpreted in court.  There is some notion somewhere in European law
that says WCAG is compulsory but I don't know the
detail of how that as a european thingy (dunno its
formal status - directive maybe - please someone clarify)
would apply to the UK.

Andy Heath
Received on Tuesday, 24 August 2004 16:07:59 UTC

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