Access to justice is Fentons' key message at Visionary Conference

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Access to justice is Fentons' key message at Visionary Conference

20th September 2012

One of the UK’s leading personal injury law firms, Fentons Solicitors LLP believes that access to justice is a right to which everyone is entitled – a belief which forms the basis of the firm’s exhibition at the forthcoming Sight Village roadshow and Visionary Conference.

“Our role is to represent people who require justice,” said Matthew Evans, the Fentons partner responsible for ensuring accessibility. “It is therefore essential that we make ourselves completely accessible – in terms of providing information as well as physically - to anyone who is considering using our services to pursue a legal case. That’s why we continue to lead the way in tailoring our services to those with disabilities. Not only have we undertaken to ensure that all 250 members of staff in our Manchester and London offices have undergone specialist training, but we have invested heavily in new systems and technology to ensure that anyone who wishes to access information about pursuing a claim can do so, regardless of any disability.”

Matthew said that Fentons was delighted to be taking part in the 2012 Visionary Conference, the annual event of the organisation that links sight-loss charities across the UK. “As a corporate member of Visionary we wanted to attend the conference and learn more about our clients’ needs, whilst at the same time highlighting some of the strides made in an effort to ensure that blind and partially-sighted people have the same access to justice,” he said.

Held alongside the Sight Village roadshow - organised by national charity Queen Alexandra College - the Visionary Conference will take place at York University from 2-4 October. Exhibitors will include everything from technology firms showcasing the latest developments in equipment such as reading aids, to care and support services and representatives from various charities.

“The theme of this year’s event is ‘winning through in tough times’, so it seemed appropriate that we were there to underline the services and facilities available to blind and partially-sighted people who might need legal advice, but who might find the prospect daunting,” said Matthew. “Our goal is to put people at ease and remind them that everyone is entitled to access to justice.”

Matthew said that the firm’s lawyers dealt with thousands of cases every year involving serious injuries. “It should come as no surprise that people who are blind or partially-sighted are just as likely as sighted people to be involved in incidents that are not their fault,” he said.

“Every single one of our colleagues - including management and support staff as well as lawyers – undergoes bespoke training to ensure the best level of service to all of our clients. Not only have we received training which has been organised through Visionary with regard how best to provide services for blind and partially-sighted individuals, but we also became the first UK law firm to be given specialist training by DeafWise, the organisation committed to improving communication for deaf people across the country.”

Matthew said that Fentons had always strived to take into account the equality and diversity needs of its clients. “By undertaking this extensive level of training, we are equipping everyone with the tools to provide the best level of service to each and every one of our clients.

“Although we have introduced and continue to incorporate technology – such as using large fonts on website pages, or making our information leaflets available in Braille – we wanted to change our attitude and entire ethos in order to make our blind or partially-sighted clients more comfortable with the whole legal process,” he said. “This has been an ongoing process, and has included the introduction of a wide range of services such as alternative audio format and text-to-speech functions for blind or partially-sighted clients, and we also ensured T-Loop systems were installed across our offices for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. We also make British Sign Language interpreters and communication support workers available,” he said.

“As a firm we pride ourselves on ensuring everyone has access to justice, and we hope that visitors to Sight Village and the Visionary Conference will join us at our stand and discuss how we can continue to work towards achieving that goal.”

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