Does the system of legal remedies for the disabled need improvement?
The press office of the National Society for the Deaf has announced that a meeting on the above has taken place at the Moscow arbitration court of the committee on regional and municipal governmental organs and their relations with communal organisations, which was set up by the presidential council on the affairs of the disabled, The committee received a report from the chair of the board of judicial experts for the Moscow oblast on legal remedies available to people with disabilities in the light of past experience and on the prospects for future development. The president of the arbitration court presented a report on experience regarding legal remedies available to communal organisations relating to their property rights.
Following discussion of the reports, NGO representatives concluded that the quality, openness and transparency of the administration of justice had improved and as a result so had trust in the courts. However greater attention needed to be paid by the courts to the protection of the rights of people with disabilities. Participants in the meeting maintained that the courts did not take the restricted physical capabilities of people with disabilities into account, especially those with limited mobility or hearing or sight loss. Not every court provided access designed for people with disabilities. Those with disabilities were obliged to look on their own for attorneys, trusted agents and people who could help them keep abreast of legal proceedings.
The committee made a number of recommendations to improve the situation. The national organisations working on behalf of the disabled have been invited jointly to submit for consideration to the ministry of justice a set of recommendations for improving the standard of legal recourse available to those with disabilities and their associations to protect their rights and interests, taking into account the right of equal access to justice conferred by the constitution on all citizens. The NGOs can also organise permanent consultative centres where the provisions of the legislation and the legal remedies available can be explained to those with disabilities. They could also apply to the court management for unimpeded access to be provided to court buildings and continue work on preparing proposals for developing the social welfare legislation for people with disabilities, including the most neglected category – those with disabilities incurred as a result of military action.
The committee recommended that the ministries of justice and education/science look at the issue of organising training and advanced qualifications for attorneys and interpreters competent in sign language and specialising in legal remedies aimed at defending the rights and interests of those with disabilities. It also recommended that the experience of the course taught at the law faculty at Nizhne Novgorod State University on legal remedies for people with physical disabilities be supported and made more widely known.