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New York StateUnified Court System

How Court Users Can Obtain ADA Accommodations


The New York State Unified Court System is dedicated to ensuring that all qualified individuals with disabilities have equal and full access to the judicial system. We are committed to providing services, programs and activities in a way that assures accessibility.

As defined by the ADA, a person with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as - but not limited to - walking, seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, caring for oneself, or working.

The ADA also protects people who have a record of having such an impairment or who are regarded as having such an impairment, whether or not they actually have one, if being perceived as having one results in discrimination.

Right to an Accommodation

If you are an individual with a disability who needs an accommodation to participate in a court proceeding or other court service, program or activity, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance.

Any individual with an interest in participating in or attending any proceeding before any court of this state may make a request for accommodations. This may include jurors, parties, attorneys, witnesses, and spectators.

Types of Accommodations the Court Can Make

Accommodations the court can provide may include making reasonable modifications in practices and procedures, or furnishing auxiliary aids, services, equipment, devices, or materials such as assistive listening devices, qualified American Sign Language (ASL) or other types of interpreters, real time computer-aided transcription services (CART), qualified readers, in large print, Braille, electronic, or audio format.

Aids and Services that Cannot be Provided as ADA Accommodations

Some examples of aids and services the court system cannot provide as an ADA accommodation include such things as legal counsel or legal advice, transportation to or from the courthouse, an official transcript of a court proceeding, personal devices (such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or prescription glasses), or personal services (such as medical or attendant care).

The Court administrators cannot grant, as an ADA accommodation, requests that impact a judge's handling of pending court proceedings, such as requests for extension of time, a change of venue, or participation in court proceedings by telephone or video conferencing. Those types of accommodation requests must be decided by the judge or judicial officer presiding over the specific case.

How to Request an Accommodation

Each court has a key person - the ADA Liaison - who has been designated to help facilitate disability accommodation requests. The ADA liaison will accept contacts made in person, in writing (by letter, email or fax) or over the telephone from qualified individuals seeking an accommodation.

To ensure that the court will be able to make appropriate arrangements, requests should be made, whenever possible, well in advance of the court appearance date. Requests should be as specific as possible. In addition to the type of accommodation needed, please provide relevant information regarding the court appearance (i.e., court facility address, name of the case, name of the judge, part number, date of the appearance(s), and estimated length of the proceeding).

To identify the correct ADA liaison to assist you with your accommodation, please review the County Listing of Local ADA Liaisons.

If you have a pending case before a judge or judicial officer and your request for ADA accommodation(s) will require a modification of or otherwise affect the court's practices or procedures, the request should be made to the judge or judicial officer.

Many requested accommodations can be arranged expeditiously. Sometimes, however, an accommodation request may require more than one conversation, in order to help the court understand the extent of your impairment, or to explore the best means of accommodating your disability.  You may be asked to provide additional information to help this process.  To the extent possible, your request and any information submitted in support of it will remain confidential and be reviewed by court personnel only as necessary to determine if an ADA accommodation is warranted or reasonable.

Response to an ADA Accommodation Request

If the court is able to provide the requested accommodation, you will be notified by the ADA liaison, or other appropriate court personnel, or by the judge or judicial officer if the request has been directed to him or her.

If the requested accommodation is denied and an alternative cannot be agreed upon, you should receive a written explanation for the denial.  A final decision to deny an accommodation can only be made by an appropriate executive-level manager (in NYC, the Chief Clerk of the Court, or in Judicial Districts 3-10, the respective District Executive to the District Administrative Judge), or, if the request has been directed to a presiding judge or judicial officer, by that judge or judicial officer.

If a judge or judicial officer has denied the accommodation request, you may ask that he or she do so on the record or in a written order, so that it might be judicially reviewed if you wish to appeal it.  For all other denials, you will be provided with a written Denial of Accommodation Form, which can be administratively reviewed.

Review of Requests that Have Been Denied

A person who has been denied an accommodation may seek review of that decision. If the decision to deny an accommodation was made by a judge or judicial officer in a pending proceeding, review of that decision must be sought through the regular process of judicial review. If the decision to deny an accommodation was made administratively by a Chief Clerk or District Executive in consultation with the ADA Statewide Coordinator, that decision may be reviewed through the Request for Reconsideration process discussed below.

A person who has been issued a Denial of Accommodation Form by a Chief Clerk or District Executive may have that decision reviewed by submitting either a written statement or a Request for Reconsideration Form.

If the form is not used, the written statement must contain the following information:

• name, address, e-mail address and telephone number of the individual submitting the Request for Reconsideration.
• name/location of the court or court facility in which the accommodation was sought.
• description of the basis for the Request for Reconsideration.
• statement of the desired remedy or the solution requested.
• a copy of the Denial of Accommodation form.

The request for reconsideration must be submitted, no later than ten (10) days after the date of the written denial, by mail or e-mail to:

New York State Office of Court Administration
Statewide ADA Coordinator
25 Beaver Street, Suite 809
New York, NY 10004
email ada@nycourts.gov

The filing deadline may be extended by the Statewide Coordinator for good cause shown. Alternative means of filing the Request for Reconsideration, such as via an audio format, may be made available upon request to the Statewide Coordinator.

The person seeking reconsideration may submit additional relevant information or documents that were unavailable to them at the time the accommodation request was originally made.

The Statewide Coordinator will review the reconsideration request promptly, and will review any information or documents submitted with the accommodation request or that relate to the denial decision. If the information submitted is determined to be insufficient, the Statewide Coordinator may request, obtain and consider additional information deemed necessary.

To the extent possible, the Statewide Coordinator will issue a decision in writing or, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the person requesting reconsideration, within 30 days of the date the request for reconsideration was filed. The Statewide Coordinator may affirm, modify or reverse the initial denial of the accommodation request.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, please email ada@nycourts.govor call the ADA Office at (212) 428-2760.

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