Wednesday, 17 March 2021

They work for you


At least some do!  [Lilian Greenwood Nottinghamshire MP putting the deaf juror access in proper perspective, and apparently adopting the BDA hype (Where does that charity get its figures from?), and downgrading the hearing loss ones via  NDCS and RNID statistics in the process.]

The reality is that nobody knows how many use sgn language and nobody knows what access the majority with hearing loss use.  All stats are therefore based on hype or sheer guesswork. Ms Greenwood seems to have adopted a BDA guess and not the RNID or other statistics.  It just displays how woefully ignorant of us all politicians are.  Ms Greenwood does deserve kudos for including others the BSL lobby deliberately left out.

First, clause 164 paves the way for deaf people to sit as jurors in England and Wales. Previously, language service professionals have not been allowed to enter the deliberation room, so anyone requiring in-person communication support has been barred from jury service. 

However, I ask the Minister to consider whether it is drafted too narrowly. The clause allows for a British Sign Language interpreter to support a deaf juror, but of the 900,000 UK residents with profound or severe hearing loss, only around 100,000 use BSL as their first language. 

As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on deafness, I know that a large number of deaf people can only participate when they are supported by a speech-to-text reporter, so will the Minister clarify how this affects them? Will a speech-to-text reporter also be provided in the deliberation room? Will the Minister consider amending the clause to use a catch-all term, to give the Courts Service more flexibility to meet the needs of all deaf jurors?