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Disability Discrimination

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NellieMay | 18:48 Fri 22nd Feb 2019 | Law
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Would it be against discrimination laws for a cinema to show a film on an upstairs screen without providing disabled access. I can't see the film I want to see in our local cinema.
  

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The Licensing Act 2003 requires that providers of 'regulated entertainment' (which includes the showing of films for profit) must hold a premises licence granted by the relevant local authority. Complain to the licensing section of your local council that a licence holder is failing to comply with his statutory obligations under the provisions of the...
19:27 Fri 22nd Feb 2019
This is the sort of issue that lawyers can argue over for hours.

As I see it though, if a cinema (for historic reasons) only had an upstairs screen (and there was no way to install a lift or otherwise provide access for people with mobility difficulties) then a court might rule that there was no 'reasonable adjustment' available to the owners, so that there was no unlawful discrimination involved.

However if a cinema has both upstairs and downstairs screens available then it would seem to me that they should offer at least one showing of a film on a downstairs screen (upon request, if necessary) as a 'reasonable adjustment' to their original plan to use only an upper screen.

Legislation here:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/part/2/chapter/2/crossheading/adjustments-for-disabled-persons

General advice here:
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/discrimination-because-of-disability/what-counts-as-disability-discrimination/#h-access-to-goods-facilities-and-services

Complaints procedures here:
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/making-complaint

However, if the cinema is part of a major chain, I'd suggest contacting their head office in the first instance.
Question Author
Thank you Buenchico. It's a small town independent cinema with two screens downstairs and one upstairs. I spoke to the manager and basically when I asked him if he basically was saying that I couldn't go to see the film, he said 'sorry, afraid so'!
Question Author
It was his attitude that annoyed me, apart from the fact will have to travel 15 miles to the nearest alternative cinema!
The Licensing Act 2003 requires that providers of 'regulated entertainment' (which includes the showing of films for profit) must hold a premises licence granted by the relevant local authority.

Complain to the licensing section of your local council that a licence holder is failing to comply with his statutory obligations under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010. If the cinema owner thinks that his licence might be at risk it's likely that he'll soon change his ways!
Question Author
Thanks once again. I will ask him if he can show the film downstairs for at least a couple of days, to give disabled people a chance to see the film, and a choice of dates and times. If he wont do that, I shall point out the terms of his licence. Hopefully he will agree and it will be on friendly terms. I very much appreciate your informed answer.
They only have to provide disabled access where it is practicable (that's means possible) so if it's impossible to make access they don't have to.
In this case it is practicable, they can show the film on the downstairs screen for a few days and put the other film upstairs for that time.

Its an easy solution and one they should adopt for all films, rotating them around the screens every few days. Not everyone can manage the stairs and this is a very reasonable adjustment.

I suggest you make the request in writing NellieMay, and if they refuse, then take it to the local authority.
Question Author
Thanks Maydup. If my friendly approach doesn't work, I will take it further in writing to the manager and the council. There is no good reason why it can't be swapped over!
Keep us informed please Nellie. Interesting.
Question Author
Will do Ladybirder. It's not a particularly nice cinema. Run on a shoestring, but it only takes a 5 minute drive and there's plenty of parking right outside in the evening. Every other cinema we use lets a carer go free, but I daren't even ask there. The tickets are cheap anyway!
Good luck. x

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