Roadshow: Disability Discrimination Act – are you complying?

On 1 October 2004 the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 changed significantly. The changes affect shops, cafes, restaurants, libraries, doctors’ surgeries, banks, pubs, in fact any organisation that provides a service to the public. The aim of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is to improve access to services and The Equality Commission (NI) has organised a series of Roadshows and Seminars to give guidance to businesses and disabled people about what the changes will mean.

Information Roadshows are taking place in shopping centres throughout Northern Ireland as follows:

18 November 2004 Erneside, Enniskillen
25 November 2004 Ards
1 December 2004 Craigavon, Rushmere
9 December 2004 Europa Bus Station
16 December 2004 Forestside, Belfast
13 January 2005 Newry, The Quays
27 January 2005 Foyleside, Derry

Voluntary and community organisations can also avail of the Equality Commission’s training seminars, which highlight the steps groups can take to comply with the Act, looking not just at physical features of buildings, but also at how services are delivered.

To find out more please write to or visit Equality House, 7-9 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, BT2 7DP, email:, tel: 028 9050 0600 or textphone: 028 9050-0589.

Technology in the courtrooms

BBCi is running an article on ‘US courtrooms go hi-tech’.

The article is well worth a read, and raises the technology prospects, which could become commonplace within the court system, and hopefully this would include the UK.

With such technology available, accessibilty would move from the margins further into the mainstream. For example, the article quotes:

The court stenographer arguably has the most arduous job, tracking every word that is spoken during the course of a trial.

Until recently it took days to produce an official printed copy of the record. Now it takes seconds.

Mollie Nichols, assistant director of Courtroom 21, explains: “The court record manager will actually speak into this mask and will be saying every word that the lawyer, the witness and the judge is saying.

“The recording actually goes into a computer and a typewritten transcript is produced in real time.”

As a precaution, the judge uses a hand-held pad that can control every device in the room. The judge can immediately stop anyone from seeing something they should not.

Such technology could be easily accessed and used by Deaf professionals and indeed other Deaf users of the court. With technology in place, it would be standard and thus dispel the need in some instances to request adjustments in advance.

Public Service Interpreting & Translation Conference

A Public Service Interpreting and Translation Conference will be held at the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh on 19-21 March 2005. The theme of the conference is ‘Breaking Down the Barriers: A Team Effort’.

The conference is said to be of interest to:

? Policy-makers with an interest in social inclusion and equality of access for people from minority and ethnic backgrounds
? People responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of services to multilingual / multi-cultural groups
? People working in public service sectors: legal system and immigration, health care, local government (social work, housing, education, environmental health?), cross-cultural survey work, etc.
? Organisations in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector offering support to minority language groups (including Deaf Communities)
? Public Service Interpreters & Translators (practitioners, trainees and students)
? Sign Language/spoken language Interpreters (practitioners, trainees and students)
? Trainers of public service & sign language interpreters & translators
? Researchers in the fields of interpreting, translating, linguistics, cross-cultural communication and anthropology

Further details available to download: Flyer, Registration Information, and an Application Form