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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9602
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Three years ago, I was disallowed access to an arts theatre

Resolved Question:

Three years ago, I was disallowed access to an arts theatre due to the fact that I use an electric scooter. I had no alternative but to seek advice from a solicitor who indicated that the theatre was 'breaking the law on two counts'. Although my solicitor still held with that view, the offending firm acting for the arts theatre decided that they would 'see me in court' (I think it was a civil matter??). At this outcome, my solicitor advised me against going down that route due to the possible financial cost if I 'lost on a technicality'. The firm acting for this theatre has the owner also acting as it's chairman. Is this not a conflict of interest issue?!! Please can you help, I am 71 years old, disabled and am an avid live theatre goer.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just an additional piece of information, I was accessing the theatre for two years prior to the denial of access to me, and having visited many theatres throughout the country, this is one of the theatres which has least accessibility problems!!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I think that your solicitor gave you wise advice and if the theatre did not capitulate prior to any court hearing, I think it is a risk that would not be worth taking. If you lost in court for any reason, the court costs which would normally be awarded against you could be substantial, as much as £10,000 in respect of the defendant’s legal costs plus your own legal costs

I have no doubt that they were breaching the Disability Discrimination Act but that duty only extends to making reasonable adjustments.

I know you say that this is one of the theatres which has the least accessibility problems but you would need some evidence to contradict whatever defence they put forward to their actions.

There is no problem or conflict-of-interest that the owner of the theatre is the chairman or that the owner/chairman is acting like a dictator and laying down the rules.

Can I clarify else anything for you?

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Best wishes.

FES.

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