Persons With Disabilities Who Need Accommodations To Access The Courts
Anyone with a disability who needs assistance in order to participate in a court proceeding, service, program or activity may receive accommodation. Anyone may file a request, but not all requests may be granted. What is a disability is defined by federal and state laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination and applicable regulations.
Information That The Court Needs
Applicants must tell the court why they need an accommodation and what accommodation they would like. This information will allow the court to decide if the request may be granted. Medical records shall be sealed automatically and will not be available to the public. If the court lacks enough information to decide, it may ask the applicant for more information.
Accommodations That May Be Requested
Applicants may request accommodations that allow them to fully and meaningfully participate in a court proceeding. Applicants should request the accommodation that will best allow them to do that. A reasonable accommodation could be any of the following:
- Sign language interpreter
- Changes to a courtroom’s layout to improve lighting, hearing, or mobility
- Large print or high contrast documents and forms
- Hearings held by teleconference
- Extended time for hearings and recesses
- Assistive listening and seeing devices
- Personal assistance or someone who can help present the case or claim to the court
Filing The Request As Soon As Possible
The form should be filed with the court as soon as applicants know they need an accommodation. The court will usually need to receive the request at least five days before the accommodation is needed. Requests coming in later than that will be granted if they are possible.
People That Receive Information
The request should be given to the court. The request is presented ex parte, but may be filed in the public court record file where the public and other participants may see it. Other participants or the public are not entitled to see any medical or health information that is filed.
Please note that not all requests are granted. If, however, the applicant qualifies, the court will deny an accommodation request only if it would cause an undue burden, if it would fundamentally alter the court proceeding or it would threaten someone’s safety or well-being. The court must explain how the requested accommodation meets one or more of these criteria.
Please contact the court for further information.