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Access to Justice: Persons with Disabilities

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2018

6. What recent assessment he has made of his Department’s compliance with article 13 of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities on access to justice. (907507)

The Government remain fully committed to the convention, and we assess the UK’s implementation of article 13 of the convention as part of the reporting process to the UN. The latest report to the UN was this year. To improve access to justice for people with disabilities, we are investing £1 billion in reforming the Courts and Tribunals Service, to continue to ensure that we have a modern justice system that is accessible to all. We are also increasing the use of technology to benefit the mobility impaired, who may have greater opportunity to participate in court and tribunal services without needing to travel to a hearing centre.

Article 13 of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, to which we are a signatory, goes well beyond access to and the right to a fair trial and includes all aspects of democracy, rule of law and the effective administration of justice for all people. Given that disabled people have been disproportionately affected by cuts to legal aid for social security cases, and that hate crimes against disabled people are on the rise and employment discrimination is increasing, when will the Justice Secretary ensure that we fulfil our commitments under article 13?

We do fulfil our commitments, and I have to point out what we do as a country. We are proud of our record in supporting disabled people, including through the landmark Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and we have some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, including the Equality Act 2010.