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A lawyer who specialises in Covid-related claims has defeated the government after his deaf client sued Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.
Chris Fry, of Fry Law, acted for Katie Rowley after she complained that two of the government's briefings, on 21 September and 12 October 2020, were not accompanied by on-screen interpreters.
Rowley said the omission left her stressed and affected her wellbeing, and that she was unable to use subtitles because she has dyslexia.
"I am a slow reader, so that means when I was reading the subtitles, I would miss so much information and [it] would just mess up my head. It would be so difficult - it became impossible", she told the BBC.
Mr Justice Fordham said the provision of only subtitles "was a failure of inclusion, suggestive of not being thought about, which served to disempower, to frustrate and to marginalise".
Finding against the government, he said Rowley's damages would be assessed by the county court.
Fry said the "significant judgment” ensured that the Cabinet Office “must ask itself, 'Where is the interpreter?' as part of its planning for its broadcasts". He added that another 260 cases relating to the lack of on-screen interpreters were being lined up against the government.
The disability lawyer has found a fruitful seam of work in the pandemic, although his niche has attracted some controversy. In February, RollOnFriday revealed how Covid conspiracy cranks who claimed that vaccines could kill had announced a team-up with Fry to fight employers who required staff to wear masks or get vaccinated.
Fry distanced himself from 'Power to the People UK', telling RollOnFriday his relationship was limited to referrals from the group of people who had proven their disability "but still been refused access, often in a humiliating and degrading way".