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Wheelchair v Buggy, Wheelchair Wins (Just) - Gillian Crew, Ely Place Chambers

14/07/17. Duty to Make Reasonable Adjustments on a Service Provider.

In the case of FirstGroup Plc v Paulley [2007] UKSC 4, the Supreme Court held that bus companies must try harder to give priority spaces to wheelchair-using passengers.

FirstGroup operated buses which had a space marked by a wheelchair sign and a notice saying “Please give up this space for a wheelchair user”. Mr Paulley was a wheelchair user who attempted to board one of the buses in February 2012 only to find a woman with a sleeping child in a pushchair had occupied the designated space. The bus driver asked the woman to fold down the chair and to move, however, the woman refused to, saying that the pushchair did not fold, and Mr Paulley was unable to board the bus.

Mr Paulley claimed that FirstGroup had failed to make reasonable adjustments, and applied a “Provision, criterion or practice” (“PCP”) consisting of a “first come, first served” policy whereby a non-wheelchair user occupying the space would be requested to move, but if the request was refused nothing more would be done. Mr Paulley succeeded at first instance and was awarded £5,500 damages...

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