February 7th, 2023 by James Goudie KC

R (LEADBETTER) v SoS for TRANSPORT (2023) EWHC 210 (Admin) concerned an important issue for visually impaired people. Visual impairment is of course a disability which is a protected characteristic within the meaning of Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The issue was the height of kerbs and Guidance in that connection from the SoS. There were 3 challenges : (1)  breach of the duty of enquiry pursuant to the Equality Act and of the Tameside duty of enquiry under common law; (2) irrationality; and (3) inadequate consultation. (1) & (2) failed. (3)succeeded .(1) and (2) failed because it was a matter of judgment for the SoS and there was sufficient basis for the Court to interfere.  As to (2), this succeeded because time to respond was essential and (12 days and 3 weeks) was “clearly insufficient”. This was especially so given that (i) there was a holiday period,  (ii) many users were known to be visually impaired, (iii) there was a need for further research and user evidence, and (iv) there would have been a realistic possibility that further evidence may have come forward and had an effect on the outcome. Declaratory relief only was granted.

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