Deaf Law Quality Mark

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As part of RAD Deaf Law Centre’s (RAD DLC) mission to “make the law work for Deaf people”, they have established the Deaf Law Quality Mark to clarify access requirements for Deaf clients to ensure that law firms, Law Centres, chambers and other bodies delivering legal services have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in order to deliver high quality legal services to Deaf people.

The Deaf Law Quality Mark considers whether they and educational institutions are actively recruiting and supporting Deaf individuals keen to embark on a career in the legal profession as part of their recruitment policy and procedures.

In doing so, RAD DLC strives to achieve access to legal services for Deaf clients, ultimately removing the barriers faced by Deaf people in accessing legal advice as highlighted in the “Legal Choices – Silent Process” report commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Legal Services Consumer Panel and Action on Hearing Loss. They also hope to increase the numbers of Deaf individuals working within the legal profession either as solicitors, barristers, legal executives or otherwise.

The Deaf Law Quality Mark has been endorsed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority:

“New initiatives like RAD Law Centre’s Deaf Law Quality Mark are to be welcomed. By encouraging legal services providers to improve their awareness of needs and communication preferences of D/deaf people, I hope that we can see more of the barriers they can currently face being dismantled, leading to legal services that can be delivered to, and experienced by, consumers in a more inclusive way.”

Antony Townsend, CEO, Solicitors Regulation Authority

For more information, go here.

The law is an ass

This post was originally featured on North of the Stupid Line.

RAD Deaf Law Centre’s stint the Solicitors Group Law 2012 was a real eye opener for me this week. An event that took place over 3 days, I was there with RAD colleagues for 2.

The conclusion I came to after my second day (Day 3) was that I am ashamed to be a part of the legal profession. Yes, you read right. Ashamed.

For such a well-educated profession, solicitors and barristers can be really stupid when it comes to Deaf people.

One solicitor asked me “how did you pass your exams?” after staring at me in shock for a few seconds when I told her I was a solicitor myself.

Another solicitor said to his colleague: “can you sign?!” when approached by us to discuss our services, suggesting that he thought we were naive enough to try and attend an event and use “sign” without any interpretation and try to communicate with delegates that way.

We had a lot of brush offs and “not interested, thank you”. Granted. we weren’t the only exhibitors to get that sort of response, but you’d have thought solicitors and barristers would have been polite, open-minded and friendly, all good skills for a professional who deals with clients every day. One even said: “I don’t want THAT”.

Needless to say, the attitudes of most made Jeff, Laura, Daniel and myself (and the interpreters) feel uncomfortable, at least initially, but as we were selling our services, couldn’t very well tell them what we thought. Words bandied around by the team included “snobbish”, “ignorant”, “unprofessional”.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Many’s attitude changed when they realised after listening to our sales pitch that there may be money in Deaf people after all, all in the name of making the law work for Deaf people (!).

So. I’m part of this profession. It was certainly an experience.

Trial postponed because juror’s hearing aid broke

Just turned on Channel 4 News which seemed to be covering trials, the length of them and if juries can understand their complex nature. As soon as I had turned the television on, it was covering the fact that a trial had to be postponed for a day because a member of the jury’s hearing aid broke. Does anyone know any further details about this?

Whilst hearing aids are acceptable over here (without communication support), having communication support is not. It becomes the 13th person issue, within the deliberation room. It seems rather bizarre that a juror functioning with a hearing aid alone (after all, it does not replace natural hearing) is safer or indeed more legal than one who is relying on communication via a third party.