TWO conflicting court cases addressing wheelchair accessibility will be heard at the Court of Appeal.

In May, Arriva North-East won a landmark court case after being accused of discriminating against disabled people.

The company was being sued by several disabled people who claimed they had experienced discrimination, including being denied access to buses when wheelchair spaces were occupied by other passengers.

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But Judge Peter Bowers at Teesside County Court ruled it had not breached the Equality Act with its “first come first served” policy and had not left wheelchair users at a “substantial disadvantage” over able-bodied passengers.

However in September, a similar case involving a wheelchair user was heard in Leeds County Court with the judge ruling that wheelchair users had a legal right to have priority over other bus users to wheelchair space.

As a result, a judge sitting in the Court of Appeal Civil Division, in London, has decided the two conflicting decisions need further consideration, in a case that is set to become the first and leading case on accessible transport.

Chris Fry, a lawyer at Unity Law who represented the disabled passengers in both cases said: “We are pleased that the issue of who should have priority over the wheelchair spaces on buses will now be considered by a panel of senior judges.

“It’s an opportunity for the thousands of wheelchair users in the UK to finally get a definitive answer on this issue.”