At Eric Robinson we aim to ensure that the legal services we provide are accessible to all. We do this in part by our practice of ‘making law make sense’, offering a network of offices across the communities we serve and providing a 24/7 telephone service.
We also recognise, that specific reasonable adjustments may be required, to ensure that our disabled clients have the same access to our services. Many of the arrangements we put in place for disabled clients can also be made available, and can be beneficial to, those who don't have disabilities.
Our Accessibility Policy demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our services are accessible to all. This policy does not seek to explain how we will approach every situation, it is intended as a general statement of our policy, and highlights the reasonable adjustments we have anticipated and put in place, as well as our approach to considering and making further reasonable adjustments.
In addition to ensuring accessibility to our services for those with disabilities this policy also considers how we can make adjustments for other clients with particular reference to those covered by other protected characteristics.
This policy therefore also demonstrates how we meet the needs of our clients arising from our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the SRA Code of Conduct.
Identifying Reasonable Adjustments
We have assessed our premises, services and methods of communication and will continue to do so, on an ongoing basis, with a view to anticipating in advance what adjustments a disabled client might need in order to access our services.
We have considered what clients with a broad range of impairments might reasonably need, such as people who have a visual impairment, a hearing impairment or a mental health disability.
We will let our clients know that we can provide reasonable adjustments by :
- asking people directly in the first communication that we have with them if they might require any reasonable adjustments to access our services
- publishing this policy on our website
- including a clear note on a relevant record, for example a client’s file, that alerts staff to an agreed reasonable adjustment.
Where a client highlights a potential issue with accessing our services we will discuss the requirements with the person concerned, consider what can be done to overcome the issue, and, whether any reasonable adjustments can be made.
Reasonable adjustments will always be agreed with the person concerned to avoid making incorrect assumptions about their needs.
When considering what reasonable adjustments we may make, we will also take into account reasonable variations to our processes, policies and procedures.
Whilst we will consider each request for reasonable adjustments individually, there are some common adjustments which we offer as a matter of course.
Examples of the reasonable adjustments that we have and can make include:
- speaking clearly and using plain English which is appropriate to the person we are dealing with, avoiding jargon and explaining legal terms, processes and procedures clearly
- training all staff and Partners in disability etiquette and using this in practice to ensure that we assist and communicate with all clients in the most appropriate way
- providing documents or correspondence in a larger font size
- providing documents on coloured paper or with a specific colour contrast, which can often help people with conditions such as dyslexia
- using email or the telephone in preference to hard copy letters where appropriate, which may assist those with a vision impairment
- using email or written communication in preference to the telephone where appropriate, which may assist those with a hearing or speech impairment
- allowing a person who has a learning disability or a mental health problem more time e.g. to listen to the issues they need to discuss, provide more in depth explanations about processes and documentation, assist them in completing paperwork etc
- providing marketing literature in a digital format which can be viewed in a larger font size
- providing a website which is built in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0) which makes our web content more accessible for people with disabilities and more user friendly for all
- welcoming assistance dogs at our offices
- automatic doors at our offices at Bitterne, Chandlers Ford and Hedge End for ease of access
- providing temporary ramps which can be put in place on request at our Chandlers Ford and Lymington offices to enable wheelchair users to access these premises
- giving clients the option to attend meetings or return documentation at alternative offices if their local office has restricted access, which may assist wheelchair users
- conducting home visits at no additional charge for clients who are unable to attend a meeting at our offices due to mobility related disability issues
In the majority of cases we will be able to agree and deliver reasonable adjustments with a minimum of delay.
In some cases, we may need to consider in more detail how best to overcome the issue a disabled person may be experiencing, but, we will endeavour to do so in a reasonable timescale.
In addition, where necessary and where it is permitted by the relevant anti-discrimination legislation, the Firm will seek to provide services which meet the specific needs and requests of all clients.
The Firm will in particular consider requests for adjustments arising from clients’ ethnic or cultural background, gender, responsibilities as carers, religion or belief, sexual orientation or other relevant factors.