In 2003, a student with cerebral palsy, and in a wheelchair, applied to study geography and information technology at St Dominic's Sixth Form College. The College was a small two-story building with a large student population, frequent class changes, one narrow stairwell and no lift. Its computer lab, where the applicant would attend about half of his classes, was located on the second floor and was therefore inaccessible to him. The college rejected his application because they claimed they could not safely accommodate him. The student's father offered to acquire a stair-climbing wheelchair that could go from one floor to another in about four to six minutes. The College conducted a health and safety assessment which showed that the device would cause congestion, disrupt classes and incur undue risk to all students, including the applicant, in the event of a fire. The applicant argued that he would be willing to use the stairs early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when traffic was light, and that his wheelchair was a model approved by the fire department. When the College still refused to accommodate him, he brought his case to the Disability Rights Commission, who agreed to bring it to court.
The student was worried that he would lose a year of education while waiting for his hearing. On his behalf, the DRC applied for a temporary injunction that would oblige the college to provide the teenager with educational services pending his trial. Before deciding to grant the injunction, the judge asked himself four questions, which were set forth as principles in Nottingham Building Society v Eurodynamics Systems (See Issues below). (Fort-Shubrook v St. Dominics Sixth Form College. MA 315 699 Courts of Justice, Crown Square Manchester 27th August 2003. district Judge McGrath.)
The College settled the case before it went to trial, when an independent body, the Learning and Skills Council, agreed to fund the cost of a temporary accessible classroom with computer facilities on the first floor to be used by the claimant until a lift was installed in 2004.