Legal Network

The DDPO Legal Network brings Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and lawyers together to increase awareness and understanding of current case law and legislation affecting Deaf and Disabled people.

About the Legal Network

The network explores how DDPOs can best use case law and legislation in their advice, advocacy, policy and campaigns work. The network also aims to build effective partnership working between lawyers and DDPOs, including identifying strategic issues that may benefit from legal action.

The network meets quarterly on priority themes identified by DDPOs. Past network themes have included:

  • The Care Act
  • Disability Hate Crime
  • Inclusive education
  • Using the UN Convention of rights of people with disabilities (UNCRPD)
  • Using the law to challenge cuts to DDPOs.

Network members hear expert contributions from lawyers and disability rights activists, have the chance to discuss and debate and have time at the end of each meeting to network with lawyers.

Who can join this network?

You can attend the DDPO Legal network if you are an individual representing a DDPO or a wider disability sector organisation. A maximum of two representatives from each organisation can attend the quarterly meetings.

Lawyers and solicitors are also welcome to attend.

Interested in joining?

Please contact Tracey Lazard:

Resources from past DDPO Legal Network events:

24 May 2018

Topic: The law on commissioning and how we can use it to protect services delivered by DDPOs

At this meeting we discussed how DDPOs and Disabled people can use the law to influence the commissioning process and the existing mechanisms the commissioners can use to protect services delivered by Disabled people for Disabled people.

  1. Briefing about commissioning for DDPOs
  2. Presentation by Azeem Suterwalla, Monckton Chambers
  3. A Public Law Project toolkit: Commissioning: Understanding and using the law for smaller organisations
  4. Azeem Suterwalla’s advice note on the use of procurement legislation for the benefit of Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations
  5. Video recordings from the meeting:

24 January 2018

13 September 2017

Topic: Disabled people’s housing rights

At this meeting we discussed Disabled people’s right to an accessible home. We looked at:

  • Local authorities’ duties to provide accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 and the Care Act 2014 and how those duties can be used to secure an accessible home.
  • The legal framework related to improving the accessibility of the existing homes, including the Disabled Facilities Grants, adaptations under the Care Act, Duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

We looked at the most common problems Disabled people experience when trying to secure accommodation or adapt their existing homes and discussed whether and how we can use the law to resolve those problems.

Resources from the meeting:

18 May 2017

Topic: The wellbeing duty in the Care Act: what it means and does it make a difference?

At our Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations Legal Network meeting on the 18th of May we discussed the wellbeing duty (section 1 of the Care Act 2014).  We also spoke about the rights Disabled people have at different stages of the process and the implications of the recent case of Davey v Oxfordshire County Council.  DDPOs highlighted some of the problems Disabled people experience with social care assessments, support planning, direct payments and charging and the lawyers commented on how the Care Act could be used to resolve some of those problems.

Resources from the meeting:

23 February 2017

Topic: Using the Equality Act 2010 to improve access to public transport

After a historic victory for Disabled people in a recent Supreme Court case of FirstGoup Plc v Paulley meaning that bus drivers will have to take more action to make sure wheelchair users have priority over a wheelchair space, we discussed how we to build on this success and use the law to ensure all Disabled people get equal access to public transport.


Joanne Owen, EHRC: Access to transport presentation to DDPO network Feb 2017

Catherine Casserly, Cloisters: Transport, Paulley and the EqA


3 November 2016

Disability Justice Project Launch 

On 3 November we launched our Disability Justice Project  which will build the capacity of DDPOs to use the law to fight for our rights.  We were delighted to see so many lawyers and DDPOs at the launch.

We heard that although the laws that protect us from discrimination and guarantee our human rights are there they make too little difference to our everyday lives and it is time we took a more strategic approach and work together with lawyers to enforce those laws.  Lawyers and judiciary often see barriers Disabled people face through a prism of welfare not rights and this needs to change.  However we can only succeed if the agenda is driven by us and we should lead the way.  The audience heard of positive examples where legal challenge helped to change local policies even though the case was lost.

You can watch all speeches from the launch at:

Disbility Justice Project launch -Presentations:

Topic: Using the Human Rights Act to protect our right to independent living

8 March 2016

Topic: Nearly a year on, is the Care Act working?

22 October 2015

Topic: How can we use the law to improve Disabled peoples access to goods and services

22 July 2015

Topic: Understanding the Care Act and how to relates to you