THE BALLAD OF READING COUNTY COURT LIFT: THIS IS A TRAGEDY NOT A COMEDY

The earlier post about the Twitter account of  broken lift in Reading County Court has already led to a lot of responses.  This is a battle being fought with humour, however its consequences are serious, profoundly serious.  Many people have responded to the original post and I have added them to that post. However here are the responses that show the serious implications of a court going without a lift in working order.

 

I had to go up in the judges’ lift because I was on crutches and you weren’t working. It was embarrassing and I had to heave myself up some stairs to get to the judges’ lift. Please get someone to mend you.

Lifts in courts mean literal to many disabled people

as a lifelong Reading resident / disabled person I’m not sure whether to laugh or despair at this account. I went to the court on work experience in ‘14 and remember the lift being old fashioned. I’m sad for disabled staff and court users.

I’m also put off applying for TCs – or any other role, really, that would help towards qualification – in my hometown. I’m 34 and used a powerchair since age 13. I know access isn’t rosey, I don’t say stuff like this lightly. It’s shocking and should shock everybody.

If anyone knows – and is able to tell me- what arrangements are put in place for disabled people who can’t manage the stairs it would help me understand the context. I hope it is more than ad hoc.

My first concern is for the parties in the cases, I want to stress that. I work for the probation service = overlapping CC matters for vulnerable people. That’s in my mind more than my C.V.

this is why court buildings matter. A broken lift seems like a trivial thing but it has a real effect on effective access to justice – and making the judicial lift available on request isn’t a long-term solution.

Scenario: arrived at crt eg. in a wheelchair. You’re anxious. Perhaps you’re running late because the first bus that pulled up couldn’t fit you on. You can use the judicial lift (sounds like controlled access, presumably the staff wld need notice? Notice that may not feed back?)

I don’t know for sure, but I recall being told that people who need the lift actually have to go through a court to get to the lift. And that accessible toilets are also on a certain floor meaning disabled people have to do a trip through a restricted area just to pee.

I wish I could remember the details of the conversation – because I directly asked the question about wheelchair users. What I am fairly confident of, is that for people who need a lift, using Reading CC is significantly more difficult.

And I’ve had some personal experience of what life is like for people with mobility issues. And it’s already pretty hard. Court is also very stressful at the best of times. To put people in such a difficult position when they already have additional challenges is unacceptable.

For me it’s just a lift and something I can comically complain about to the security staff every time I go to Reading. But for some people it’s essential.

We had a hearing in a disability discrimination case (I kid you not) which had to be moved at short notice from Manchester to Liverpool because the lifts at the Manchester ET couldn’t accommodate the powered wheelchair of my oppo. Shameful.