Recommended Reading for 22 October, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

At Astrid’s Journal, Multiplicity Myths:

I wrote this collection of myths a few years ago, intending to create a multiplicity page on my website. That never got to be, but I still like this list. I have edited some parts where appropriate.

At Tunisia Online News, Tunisian-Italian project to benefit blind people in Gafsa:

A project as part of a Tunisian-Italian partnership to promote the status and integration of the disabled in society, will soon lead to the building of a house for visually impaired and blind people in Oum Larayes in the governorate of Gafsa (South western Tunisia).

From the Los Angeles Times in the United States, Georgia settles suit on confinement of disabled people:

In a settlement that will serve as a model for enforcing the rights of the disabled, the Justice Department reached an agreement with Georgia to move many patients with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities out of the state’s notoriously dangerous psychiatric hospitals and into the community.

From, NZ offer world first service for deaf:

Until today, [15 October] New Zealanders who are hearing impaired and deaf have had to use a fax machine to make contact with 1 -1 -1.


At midday a system was switched on which allows the seven thousand members of the hearing impaired and deaf community to text for help.

From Pro Bono Australia, Judge Caps Court Costs on Disability Case -PIAC:

A decision in the Federal Court is expected to have national ramifications for public interest litigants according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, PIAC.


The Public Interest Advocacy Centre was acting on behalf of Julia Haraksin, who tried to book a seat on a Murrays coach from Sydney to Canberra.

Bizarrely enough, I’ve taken a Murrays bus from Sydney to Canberra myself and was just thinking about their lack of accessibility yesterday! Here’s hoping Julia Haraksin wins the case.

That’s all for this time. Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited.


  1. I know this is because I’m coming from a US law background, but I don’t understand the order to cap court costs and why a plaintiff would want one. Can someone tell me what this all means? (In the US, we talk about doing things like proceeding in forma pauperis (in the manner of the poor) where the court waives filing fees, and I’m not sure if this is at all similar. I work for a non-profit, so all of our cases proceed i.f.p.)


  2. kali – i’m not an expert on australian law by any stretch of the imagination, so take this with a grain of salt! but it appears to me that this caps the costs that haraksin would have to pay if she lost her claim. i’m not sure how fee waivers (IFPs) work in australian courts, but it appears that haraskin did not qualify for one. the organization working on the litigation seems to have recently established legal right to cap costs in cases where the plaintiff won’t benefit financially and the case is in the public interest. since haraskin is suing for an order telling the transportation company to follow the law, not for financial damages, she qualified to have costs capped under this new theory.

    it’s not surprising that she wouldn’t qualify for a fee waiver – the standards are pretty strict. here in CA, you have to either be on a welfare program for very low income folks or have weekly household income below $1,900 for 3 people. so it’s still possible to be poor but to not qualify for a waiver – especially in a case like this where the alleged discrimination isn’t related to financial status.

  3. My understanding (and I am not a lawyer) is that the cap is of the other party’s legal costs that might be awardable if the plaintiff should lose her case. One way for big companies to discourage small litigants is for the big company’s legal costs to skyrocket, meaning that if the plaintiff loses and there’s a costs award, they have to pay the big company ridiculous amounts of money. Making sure your little opponent is staring down the barrel of hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs should they lose is a nice simple way to force them to quietly drop the case.

  4. That’s right lauredhel. And it makes the DDA here in Australia a pretty useless piece of legislation. The least able are put through the grinder and then may lose anyway going up against ppl and companies with lots of money for lawyers.

  5. we do get a fee waiver to lodge the complaint with the Federal Court if we are on the disability support pension but that does not include costs being awarded against you. I couldn’t even do a complaint if I did get costs lowered as $15,000 is too much for me.

  6. Thanks guys! That makes sense, but wow is that a rough set-up. I’m trying to decide whether I think the system in the US where you typically only get an award against you as a plaintiff is if it’s a frivilous lawsuit. If there’s any real meat to the case, then each side is responsible for their own costs. I think when you’re looking at big corporate defendants it makes a lot of sense, but I’m hesitating because plenty of people who don’t fit that bill end up being defendants.