Following from the launch of the Deaf Lawyers UK website, Alison and I have decided to develop two new websites, www.deaflaw.org.uk and www.deaflawcentre.org.uk.
This will be a website to develop the concept of ‘deaf law’ in the UK in terms of policy based on disability, language, equal opportunities and adminstrative. It will document policy and legislation to ensure the protection of society’s rights and obligations towards Deaf people. At the moment we are looking to install a wiki as we want to make this a contributory website i.e. we want it to develop by way of professionals within the Deaf field contributing articles and information relevant to Deaf law.
We would also like to set up a UK network, of solicitors, barristers and law students, including any professionals who have an interest in deafness. We will set up an egroup for this purpose. Go here for more information.
Deaf Law Centre
A vision of ours is that a Deaf Law Centre, on a par to the National Deaf Association’s Law and Advocacy Centre in Washington DC, USA, is established in the UK. The major difficulty with this ideal is the fact that there are very few Deaf legal professionals in the UK. We need a large number of such people in order to ensure that the Deaf Law Centre will be Deaf-led and independent from major d/Deaf charities within the UK such as the RNId and RAD. How can this be achieved if we don’t have the Deaf legal professionals?
This has been a bone of contention for such a long time, and has brought up so many political issues such as the fact that if a Deaf Law Centre is established by the RNId or RAD, Deaf people will refuse to use the service simply because it was set up by what Doug Alker refers to as ‘well meaning’ missionary types who [have] a deep concern for the welfare of the “deaf and dumb”. I can understand that sentiment. I feel the same. But, how can we set up a Deaf Law Centre otherwise? Surely it’s better to have *something* than nothing at all?
A difficult one …