2001-E/F Commerce Park Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
For Immediate Release
Judiciary Improves Access for People Needing Interpreters in Court
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – July 2, 2015) – The Maryland Judiciary has made two changes to the Maryland Rules to help ensure access to the courts for people with limited proficiency in English or who need an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These changes took effect July 1, 2015.
Rule 1-333 specifies that parties who need an interpreter in court need only make one request, rather than separate requests for each court event, as previously required. The rule does not change the procedure for interpreter requests for victims and witnesses, who will need to continue to submit a request each time they will need an interpreter. The rule also now requires that, in addition to trials and other matters held in open court, courts provide interpreters for certain other court-related services (http://www.mdcourts.gov/courts/pdfs/interpretersforctrelatedevents.pdf). Rule 1-333 replaces former Rule 16-819 regarding court interpreters.
A revision to Rule 1-332 adds victims, jurors, and prospective jurors to the list of participants in court proceedings for whom courts must make accommodations under the ADA upon notice of a request for an accommodation. Further, the rule now requires that the accommodation request form be posted on the Judiciary’s website to increase its availability. Rule 1-332 also now clarifies that courts will determine whether a sign language interpreter is needed under the ADA and Maryland law, and that, when needed, sign language interpreters will be appointed in accordance with Rule 1-333.
“The changes to the Maryland Rules will help ensure that people gain access to justice by removing barriers that may have prevented their full participation in the past. We expect these changes to support the Judiciary in fulfilling its mission of providing fair, effective, efficient, and accessible justice for everyone,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.
The Judiciary website has information about court language services. (http://mdcourts.gov/courts/courtlanguageservices.html) For more information, contact Pamela Ortiz, Director, Maryland Judiciary’s Access to Justice Department, at 410-260-1258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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