When Dylan sang about the murder of Hattie Carroll he ridiculed the idea that the ‘ladder of law has no top or no bottom ‘. It’s a powerful and moving song that challenges the inequities in the American justice system in the 1960’s.
Listening to a lawyer talk about present day Scottish legislation affecting children with disabilities at recent training events it struck me how little our modern Acts and legal system has improved. Inequality is sadly still very prevalent despite promising terminology. Furthermore our contemporary Scottish Acts have ‘no bottom ‘ in the sense that they are weak and are largely not enforceable by ordinary families. Dip into the Education (ASL) Act, the Equality Act or the Regulation of Care Act and see how far you get against the ‘ big fish.’ Terminology is often almost impossibly vague and when challenges are mounted local authorities and health boards have the legal resources to bankrupt most individuals who would put up a fight. No wonder they thumb their nose at ‘statutory’ obligations !
Pursuing ‘statutory ‘ entitlement is so often a highly complex, emotionally challenging and draining system for families living with disabilities. It brings ridicule to any notion of social justice and shame to us all.