Cases violating CRPD art 21(b) (potential) (2)

Note that committees can record actual or potential violations.

Article 21 - Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by:

. . . (b) Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions . . .

CRPD art 21(b)

Beasley v Australia (CRPD, 2016)

Remedy's assessment: Unremedied

Ms Beasley is Deaf and uses Auslan to communicate. Summoned to perform jury duty, she was turned away because she requires an Auslan interpreter to communicate with hearing jurors and others in the courtroom. The Committee found this denial of a ‘reasonable accommodation’ to allow Ms Beasley to exercise her legal capacity on an equal basis was a violation of her rights to equality before the law (art 5(1)), to reasonable accommodation (art 5(3)), to equal access to information and communications (art 9(1)), to access to justice (art 13(1)), freedom of expression (art 21(b)) and to participate in the conduct of public affairs (art 29(b)).

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities agreed that reasonable accommodation would be to allow an Auslan interpreter to take an oath regarding confidentiality of jury deliberations.

Read more on Beasley v Australia.

Lockrey v Australia (CRPD, 2016)

Remedy's assessment: Unremedied

Mr Lockrey is Deaf and requires real-time steno-captioning in order to communicate. He was summoned to serve as a juror, but when he informed authorities he would need steno-captioning in order to serve as a juror, the NSW Sheriff refused, claiming that to have a captioner in the jury room would breach the confidentiality of jury deliberations.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found that Australia had discriminated against Mr Lockrey by failing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate him, noting that a captioner could take an oath of confidentiality in order to be present in the jury room. The Committee further found violations concerning Mr Lockrey’s right to accessibility, to express himself ‘in official interactions’ and to equal access to justice.

Read more on Lockrey v Australia.