Operators of York Barbican Theatre, SMG (UK) Ltd, have admitted that they discriminated against a disabled theatre-goer, Doug Paulley, with their ticket pricing policy. Unlike other venue operators, which provide that both the disabled customer and their carer are charged full price between them, until today the Barbican’s policy required people like Doug to pay for two separate full price tickets.
After a lengthy and robustly defended legal challenge, the venue operators finally agreed (the evening before the start of the trial) to amend its policy so that, “all visitors to York Barbican who require to accompanied by a carer will be entitled to purchase the ticket for their carer at a discounted rate.” The effect being that, “a disabled person and their carer shall not be required to pay more than the cost of one fully priced ticket.”
Chris Fry, Managing Partner of Unity Law who represented Doug said: “This case establishes a legal precedent in relation to ticket pricing policies for disabled customers and their carers. By bringing his case, Doug has secured a change of policy which not only affects this venue, but also has a wide reaching impact on sports and entertainment venues across the UK.”
Doug Paulley added: “I brought this case on behalf of 8 of us from our care home who were shocked to find that we were to be charged double to attend the Barbican just because we were disabled. We have no choice but to rely upon carers, who we have to pay to help anyway. I felt very strongly that this kind of policy essentially kept disabled people away from social venues, and that something had to be done. I am delighted that the Barbican has agreed to change its policy, but disappointed that it did so the night before a Court Hearing.”
The case was brought by Chris Fry & Lucy Angus at Unity Law’s specialist Equality team, and with the expertise of Catherine Casserley at Cloisters Barristers Chambers, London.