Language Access Program
“Access to justice … means language access. People should not be excluded from the promises of our laws because of the language they speak.”
Office for Access to Justice Director Rachel Rossi
Keynote Remarks, Stanford Law Review 2023 Symposium on Access to Justice
About the Program
The Office for Access to Justice Language Access Program is dedicated to breaking down the barriers that prevent linguistically marginalized communities and those with limited proficiency in English, including those who are Deaf and hard of hearing, from reporting a crime, understanding their rights, navigating a court process, and from other interactions with the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 2022, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the inaugural Department-wide Language Access Coordinator, housed in the Office for Access to Justice. The Language Access Coordinator leads ATJ’s Language Access Program and guides the effective implementation of the Department’s language access obligations. The Coordinator also chairs the Department’s Language Access Working Group, which includes representatives from all public-facing components.
On August 15, 2023, Attorney General Garland announced the release of the Department’s updated Language Access Plan. The updated Plan modernizes language access policies to further expand access and advance equity. The Plan provides guidance to Department offices to help them bolster language access planning, which includes understanding trends, needs and preferences of communities who do not predominately use written or spoken English. The Plan improves translation and interpretation services, promotes quality assurance of those services, and expands the range of tools available to serve the public.
Ana Paula Noguez Mercado
DOJ Language Access Coordinator