How Court Users Can Obtain Accommodations


Types of Accommodations the Court can Make

How to Request an Accommodation

Response to an ADA Accommodation Request

Review of Requests that have been Denied

 

Accessibility (ADA)

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 would implicate the rights of parties to the proceeding or the Judge’s inherent power to manage the courtroom and proceeding. Examples of such requests include 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

Whenever possible, requests should be made at least a few days before you come to court. Requests can be made in writing (by letter or e-mail) or by telephone.  

For trial courts in New York City, requests should be made to the Chief Clerk of the court. To find the mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number for the appropriate Chief Clerk, please visit our Local ADA Information by Courthouse  page, and select the county in which you are interested.  

For trial courts outside New York City, requests should be made to the District Executive of the judicial district in which the court is located.  To find the mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number for the appropriate District Executive, please visit our Local ADA Information by Courthouse page, and select the county in which you are interested.  

Requests should be as specific as possible.  Please provide:
•    your name
•    a brief description of your disability 
•    the accommodation(s) you want
•    name of the case (and number, if known)
•    name of the judge (if known)
•    date(s) you will be in court
•    your contact information, including mailing address, e-mail address, and phone
     number.                 

If you make your request by e-mail, please put “ADA Accommodation Request” in the subject line.  If you make your request by letter, please write “ADA Accommodation Request” at the top.

In all locations, you can also make your request in person.  Please ask court security personnel to direct you to the court’s Chief Clerk’s office.  Be aware that, if you wait until you get to court to request an accommodation, we may not be able to provide it that same day.  

Response to an ADA Accommodation Request

Many accommodations can be made based on the information you give in your request. If the court can provide the accommodation you requested, you will be notified by court personnel, or by the judge or judicial officer hearing your case.

Sometimes, however, the court may need to know more about your disability to help it understand what a reasonable accommodation might be.  If so, you may be asked to provide additional information.  To the extent possible, your accommodation request and any information you provide will remain confidential. 

If the Chief Clerk or District Executive denies your requested accommodation -- and an alternative cannot be agreed upon -- you will get a written Denial of Accommodation. That Denial can be administratively reviewed upon request. If a judge or judicial officer denies your accommodation request, you may ask them to provide a written judicial order or state the reason for the denial on the record.  That denial can be judicially 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 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 8883
New York, NY 10004
e-mail: 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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