‘Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user’

Case note: FirstGroup Plc (Respondent) v Paulley (Appellant) [2017] UKSC 4.

The driver on a bus has to take further steps than a mere request to give way to ensure a wheelchair user can get on. This seems obvious and fair enough until it is noted the request also applies to buggies occupying the space.

Facts of the case are a wheelchair user was left behind at a stop because the space, with the notice ‘Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user’, was occupied by a buggy with a sleeping baby.

Last week the Supreme Court unanimously allowed Mr Paulley’s appeal, with Lord Neuberger  giving the judgement. In such a situation it should be a requirement and not a request to give way. If the refusal to give way to the wheelchair user is unreasonable, further steps should be taken. The further steps  would not necessarily result in a buggy user or other customer being demanded off a bus but will depend on the circumstances.

Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Clarke dissented in part, that the damages awarded by the  Recorder (first instance) should have been upheld.

Upcoming cases

On another note, the ruling on whether the Government needs Parliament’s permission to trigger Brexit (Article 50) will be announced on Tuesday morning. The argument against the government is that they should not be able to side step Parliament and trigger article 50 without Parliament’s consent.

Judgments are public documents and are available at: http://supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/index.html.
The contents of this post are not legal advice.
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