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Re: NewAgeMedia: [UK] Government gets tough over Web accessibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 20:08:45 +1100
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: "Isofarro" <w3evangelism@faqportal.uklinux.net>
Message-Id: <C2FD63FA-3A7B-11D7-B4C6-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

According to the Code of Practice, section 10.16,

   "If a complaint cannot be resolved by conciliation or agreement, and 
the complainant has brought legal proceedings, the matter will have to 
be decided by a court. If successful, a disabled person could be 
compensated for any financial loss, including injury to feelings. The 
disabled person may also seek an injunction (in Scotland an interdict) 
to prevent the service provider (or person selling, letting or managing 
premises) repeating any discriminatory act in the future. The court may 
make a declaration as to the rights and responsibilities of the parties 

This would suggest that in fact what can happen is that a person making 
a complaint could ask for an injunction against a Web site operating if 
it was accepted by a court that there was illegal discrimination, and 
if the problem is not resolved. In other words that the court case must 
come before anyone can tell the website to stop operating.

The rest of the Code suggests that the primary concern is about 
resolving problems which stop people getting access to services, with 
the usual collection of exemptions for "unreasonably difficult 
requirements", etc. Precedents like Maguire vs SOCOG don't suggest that 
closing down a website is likely to be a remedy sought in a hurry.

On the other hand section 10.11 of the code of practice is interesting. 
It could be interepreted as a suggestion that any provision in a 
contract for Web construction that effectively requires making an 
inaccessible website may be void. That is, there is a possibility that 
you can't be held to performing that part of the contract (although the 
rest would normally apply). A careful analysis of this section would be 
interesting to read...



On Thursday, Feb 6, 2003, at 21:12 Australia/Melbourne, Isofarro wrote:

> NewMediaAge[1], a publication for marketers involved in "New Media" 
> have
> published an article today titled: "Government gets tough over Web
> accessibility"[2] where the DRC lays out the typical scenario for an
> inaccessible website.
> If the DRC concludes that a website breaches the Disability 
> Discrimination
> Act they are allowed to serve a notice ordering the website to cease
> operation. Failing to comply with this notice results in a court case.
> The government is already pressing ahead preparing to launch its first 
> legal
> crackdown, the article claims, its a matter of whether to start with
> individual companies or specific sectors. I wonder if a company is 
> allowed
> to volunteer ;-)
> There is a mention of a code of practice[3] published by the DRC, 
> although I
> won't comment too much on the irony of offering it either as a Word 
> document
> or PDF download.
> [1] -- http://www.newmediazero.com/
> [2] -- http://www.newmediazero.com/news/home.asp?sd=05022003
> [3] -- http://www.drc.gov.uk/drc/InformationAndLegislation/Page331a.asp
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Friday, 7 February 2003 04:09:08 UTC

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