Digital accessibility is a constantly changing area of law. There are no explicit regulations for private companies and although we have dozens of court decisions, many of those decisions contradict each other.
Even though no one can be completely sure what the future holds for digital accessibility, we can make some educated guesses. At the tail end of 2017, we asked eight leading attorneys to dust off their Magic 8-Balls and give us their best predictions of where the law may be headed.
Will there be new regulations? Or deregulation?
As of December 26, 2017, proposed updates to ADA regulations were officially withdrawn by the DOJ. This withdrawal does not preclude the DOJ from proposing new rules, but no further progress is anticipated at this point. But beyond deregulation, there is a question of whether some of the existing regulations will be repealed. Even if the DOJ does not take action to help people with disabilities, most experts agree that plaintiffs will turn to the court system.
“I think that this administration seems to be very much in favor of deregulation, saying things like ‘to get a rule issued, you need to withdraw two existing rules’, which suggests that we’re unlikely to see web accessibility regulations to come out any time soon. The current murkiness will only get less clear.”
– Olabisi Ladeji Okubadejo, Of Counsel, Ballard Spahr LLP
“It doesn’t look like there will be online accessibility regulations in this administration. And the lack of specific regulations creates uncertainty regarding DOJ enforcement, as opposed to private enforcement, which is where most of the activity is coming from.”[On new regulations] “That train has already left the station. Regulatory action would be better than inaction at this point, given that right now the standard is going to be whatever some judge in some courthouse decides you’re going to be obliged to do. Regulatory inaction is not going to turn back that clock.”
– Donald Brown, Partner, Mannatt, Phelps, & Phillips LLP
– David F. McDowell, Partner, Morrison Foerster
Want to Learn More?
Deregulation, legislation, court cases? There are so many variables, but we’ve got it covered. To find answers to all of your burning digital accessibility legal questions, download our whitepaper – The Digital Accessibility Crystal Ball.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.