Wheelchair v Buggy

The Supreme Court has found in favour of Mr Paulley, a wheelchair user, who was discriminated against on the grounds of his disability when he was refused access to a bus.

Facts of the case:

Mr Paulley tried to board a bus and occupy the space designated for wheelchair users. However, a woman was already using the space with her pram. The driver asked the woman to move in line with the bus operator’s policy, but she refused to do so and Mr Paulley was denied access.

The Supreme Court held that the foundations of a discrimination claim were met under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, as there was a provision, criterion or practice in place which placed Mr Paulley at a substantial disadvantage when compared with the non-disabled bus passengers.

The Supreme Court attempted to provide legal clarity and strike an important balance between wheelchair users’ rights to occupy designated wheelchair spaces over and above other passengers.


While important clarification has been given, and arguably a victory for the rights of disabled individuals has been achieved, some uncertainty remains about what exactly service providers are required to do.

The impact of the ruling is likely to be felt further afield, and other service providers are closely reviewing their own policies.

How we can help

Our employment experts are on hand to assist you with any employment law matters and can be contacted by telephoning 0161 330 6821 or by emailing:

Mark Hirst (mhirst@bromleys.co.uk)

Nicholas Clough (nclough@bromleys.co.uk)

Rachael Frankland (rfrankland@bromleys.co.uk).

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.