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 making sure that our services, programs and activities are accessible to every person who uses the court.
As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA), a person with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
A person with a “physical or mental impairment” might be someone who has an orthopedic, visual, speech, or hearing impairment, or be someone who has a disease or condition that is not immediately apparent, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, an emotional or mental illness, or an intellectual or learning disability. Many other kinds of physical or mental disorders or conditions may also qualify as a disability under the ADA if they substantially limit an activity important to daily life or affect a major bodily function.
If you are a person with a disability who needs an accommodation to participate in a court proceeding or other court service, program or activity, you are entitled to get one, at no cost to you.
Anyone who participates in or attends a court proceeding or uses the clerical offices of a court may ask for an ADA accommodation. This includes parties, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and spectators.
ADA accommodations the court can make. The court can accommodate a person with a disability by
- providing auxiliary aids or services, including, for example:
- assistive listening devices, qualified American Sign Language (ASL) or other types of interpreters, and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) transcription, for a person who is Deaf or hard of hearing.
- copies of court documents in large print, Braille, screen readable, or audio formats for a person who is blind or has low vision.
- making reasonable modifications in practices or procedures, including, for example:
- relocating a proceeding to a physically accessible courtroom for a person with a mobility impairment.
- filling out a court form for a person with an impaired ability to write by hand
- permitting the use of a service animal by a person who is blind or otherwise relies on a dog trained to do work or perform a task.
A judge presiding over a matter may also make reasonable modifications to his or her own courtroom practices and procedures, including for example: extending briefing schedules; granting adjournments; permitting remote appearances; or scheduling matters for specific times.
Other accommodations may also be provided - by the court or by an individual judge - -depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the person with a disability.
Devices, Aids & Services that are not provided as ADA Accommodations
The ADA does not require the court to provide an individual with personal devices, such as wheelchairs or canes, or with personally prescribed items, such as hearing aids or eyeglasses. The ADA also does not require the court to provide services of a personal nature, such as medical or attendant care. The court does not provide an attorney or an official transcript as an ADA accommodation, but in some circumstances you may be able to obtain those things based upon financial need, as determined by a judge. Court personnel are not permitted to provide legal advice as an ADA accommodation.