House of Lords

Story: Graham Jones

Douglas Johnson is well known locally as a volunteer on the Burngreave Messenger but his working life is spent at the Sheffield Law Centre where he specialises in discrimination and disability cases.

On Tuesday 8th September, Douglas was invited to speak at the House of Lords on behalf of the national Law Centres Network.

The event was a meeting of the Lords’ Select Committee looking at discrimination law and how it affects disabled people. Douglas was invited because of his experience gained through work at Sheffield Law Centre and he was joined by representatives from the Law Society and the Bar Council.

The Lords were interested to hear their proposals to strengthen equality law and seemed to agree that much more needs to be done. One of the proposals was to increase the duty on public bodies to take account of “socio- economic inequalities.” This would make a very big difference to poor areas but has never been brought into force.

One surprise for Douglas was to see Angelina Jolie wandering past. She was giving evidence to another Select Committee on the needs of refugees – so unfortunately she didn’t stop to chat!

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