Disability & The Law Courts
There isn’t a more nerve wracking experience to endure in life than paying a visit to a court of law for whatever reason. For disabled people however, it is even more taxing, unless the court of law conforms to disability regulation and is fitted with adjustments to benefit disabled people.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing
If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have to attend court for any matter then you are entitled to certain rights, information and support regarding communication and facilities should be given to you by the court.
For example when your hearing is due to take place it might be called over a tannoy system which you may have trouble hearing due to your impairment, if this will be a problem for you then you should make the court clerk aware of it beforehand.
Facilities in the Courtroom
Many court rooms are fitted with infra red facilities including induction loops and if you think you will need to take advantage of this then be sure to tell the clerk on your arrival.
You have the option of visiting the court before your case is due to come up to see what options are available to you for your disability and also to make it be known that you suffer from a disability so will need extra help.
Providing you give the court adequate notice beforehand then an interpreter can be arraigned by the court to assist you in your hearing. If you are in attendance at the court for example as a claimant or defendant in a civil or family matter then it is down to the court to pay for the interpreter, they will only pay for the interpreter however if they were booked through the court.
Preparation for your case such as meetings with your lawyer in which you need assistance via an interpreter is not covered by the court and you must pay for this yourself. Only a qualified interpreter can be used in relaying information at the hearing, if you do want a family member or friend to act as your interpreter then you must ask the permission of the judge.
The judge will decide if you are able to use this person and he will want to make sure that they can relay the exact information that you are giving to the court.
Going to court if you are blind or visually impaired
If you are blind or your vision is impaired in any way then you have certain rights as do deaf and hard of hearing people and the court will be able to provide you with help for your disability. For example if you are to be on a jury panel then any evidence that is written must also be read aloud.
You will be able to visit the court before your case is due to come up and get a feel of the surroundings, the court should also have audio tape recordings that you can listen to at home and they should also be able to supply you with leaflets in Braille.
If you have the help of a guide dog then the dog will be allowed into the courtroom with you at your hearing, if you are serving as a member of the jury then it is usually possible for your dog to be looked after while you are in the courtroom.
Filed under: Disability & The Law Courts