HEARING CANCELLED – Disabled people in Court! – Tues 18th June 2024, Disabled People and the Government’s National Climate Adaptation Plan


This hearing has been adjourned at short notice, to 23rd and 24th July.

I’m pretty devastated – and I’m sorry to others who made arrangements.

Doug – 17th June 2024

I’m one of three claimants taking the Government to court over its failure to produce a fit-for-purpose National Climate Adaptation PlanIf you can, please come and show support.

We all know that disabled people are amongst the first against the wall in any emergency, as shown during COVID-19. Climate change is an emergency. Huge climate change will inevitably impact disadvantaged and dispossessed people the most, such as disabled people. Climate change is killing and maiming disabled people all over the world.  This is an existential crisis for disabled people.

The United Nations has found that the UK Government are responsible for “grave and systematic violations’ of Disabled persons’ rights“. It seems that some people are just more expendable and less valuable than some others. This comes across loud and clear in the Government’s third National Climate Adaptation Plan, which isn’t fit for purpose.  I believe it will kill even more UK disabled people unless we hold the Government to account.

The case will be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London on Tuesday, June 18th, and Wednesday, June 19th, 2024.

You are invited:

  • to a demo outside the Court on Tuesday 18th at 12:30pm,
  • to attend Court to support and observe, in person or over the Internet, for part or all of the hearings.

I have previously found that the presence of disabled people at court cases drives home to judges the importance of the issues.

Access details

Lawyers, Friends of the Earth and I have been lobbying the Court Service and the Royal Courts of Justice to attempt to ensure that they make attending the Hearing as accessible as possible. Previous experiences in other disabled peoples’ rights cases have not been good, but we hope that they will stick to their word and do better this time…

In person

  • The hearing will be held in Courtroom 73 in the East Block of the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) in the Strand, London, all day on Tuesday, June 18th, and Wednesday, June 19th, 2024. I currently don’t know the start time, but I should imagine it will be 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m.
  • The entrance for people who don’t do stairs is via the Bell Yard, down the street to the Right of the main entrance. This street isn’t great for accessibility; it has steep, narrow pavements and sets (cobbles). Here’s the Court Service’s Map of the Royal Courts of Justice.
  • You’ll have to go through Security. They have a list of what they won’t allow through, which includes wheelchair tools. They have been instructed in how to treat disabled people, our bodies, minds, aids and belongings, with respect. (Apparently.)
  • Courtroom 73 is on the 2nd floor. There are lifts, but the lifts are narrow and frankly inadequate for a significant number of disabled people, so there can be queueing.
  • The courtroom is their largest and can take a few wheelchair users. There will be a hearing loop, which they promise they will have installed and tested… There’s water for everybody, including for assistance dogs (who we are assured will be welcomed.)
  • There’s an overspill room, Courtroom 68 on the first floor. It will have a large screen, speakers, and a working hearing loop. Observers can choose whether to be in the main Courtroom (73) or the overspill Courtroom (68), depending on their preferences and the busyness of either.
  • The disabled and standard toilets are on the 1st and 3rd floors (so not on the same floor as the main courtroom). I have previously found them sort of adequate but not great, and getting to them can be difficult with large, heavy doors, but the RCJ has promised to have staff on hand to help with the doors, etc.
  • There’s an (unwelcoming) prayer and contemplation room on the 1st floor also.

Over the Internet

  1. You must register by 10am on Monday 17 June – the day before the hearing – in order to watch on the Internet.
  2. To register, follow this court order. In brief:
    • Email colin.genner3@justice.gov.uk
    • State you want to attend this hearing remotely: case AC-2023-LON-00307, Friends of the Earth and others -v- Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs
    • Give your name and email address, whether you’ll be watching from England and Wales or if not which country, and a short reason you want remote access – “I will have difficulty attending the RCJ” is fine.
    • The text “If permitted to attend the hearing remotely, I understand that I must not record or transmit what I see and hear. I understand that it is an offence and may be a contempt of court to do so, and that I may be punished if I were to do so.”
  3. (I personally object to this requirement to give ID: people can attend in person without giving these details or signing any promise not to record, so I don’t see why disabled people attending remotely should have to. But this requirement is set out in Section 85A(3)(b) of the Courts Act 2003.)
  4. They should then email you back with the link to watch the hearing. This will be via the Court Service’s (terrible, in my opinion) Cloud Video Platform.
  5. If possible, use Google Chrome; it is the most compatible. I recommend turning your microphone and camera off.