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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 Court Clerk or Justice- who has been designated to help facilitate disability accommodation requests. The Court Clerk or Justice 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 justice, part number, date of the appearance(s), and estimated length of the proceeding).

If you have a pending case before a justice 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 justice.

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 Court Clerk or Justice, or other appropriate court personnel, 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 the Justice.

If a Justice 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 explanation of the denial.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, please email resourcecenter@nycourts.gov

 

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