Implementing Article 13 of the UNCRPD: Enhancing Deaf People’s Communication Access to Justice in Northern Ireland

This 2 year pilot project is based in Northern Ireland and is led by the British Deaf Association, a Deaf people’s organisation, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University.

Article 13 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) states that disabled people have the right to effectively access justice.

Disabled people access the justice system for various reasons. This includes as witnesses, jury members, defendants, utilising legal services in conveyancing, appeals to the benefits systems and engaging with tribunals. Also, there is evidence that disabled people are much more likely to be victims of crime.

While some barriers have been identified to the justice system in Northern Ireland there is a lack of comprehensive research on this issue.

The project is:

  • Investigating what the barriers are to deaf people accessing the justice system in Northern Ireland? How does the justice system respond and what best practice exists?
  • Empowering deaf people in coproducing solutions to barriers to accessing the justice system
  • Supporting the justice system in complying with domestic and international legal obligations by developing, piloting and evaluating training
  • By increasing knowledge and awareness of rights and how the justice system works, the project is increasing deaf people’s choice and control. Ultimately this will empower deaf people to engage with the justice system in a more accessible manner, supporting independent living and leading to fewer breaches of rights and discrimination.