How to Notify the Court You Have a Language or Accessibility Need

The earlier the court knows you have a language or accessibility need, the better. When filing at court or doing business with a court clerk, most locations will utilize Language Line, which requires no advanced notice. For court hearings, while some courthouses have language translators on site, others have to schedule a certified state translator to come in and help. If you or anyone going to court are hard of hearing or have mobility issues, courthouses may be able to make arrangements to make accommodations.  These may include:

  • Headset
  • Assigning a courtroom that is near the elevator or court entrance
  • Information regarding disability entrances

If you have an attorney, tell them and they will notify the courthouse so arrangements can be made. There are many ways of informing the court that you need a translator or accommodation. Depending on the courthouse, requests will need to be placed between 3 and 14 days in advance. You can notify the courthouse by:

  • When you initially file your case, tell the clerk and they will place a note in your file.
  • Call the courthouse and notify the clerk of your need.
  • If you do not give advance notice, you can tell the clerk or judge at the time of the proceeding and they will either bring in a translator they have on staff, utilize the phone translation services, or postpone your hearing until they are able to bring someone in to translate in person.

Interpreters, translators, and accommodations are free of charge and will not negatively impact you or your case in any way.