UPDATE: CA Courts Take Another Step Toward Meaningful Access for LEP Litigants in Civil Proceedings

The fall issue of Title VI Civil Rights News @FCS highlighted a new state law in California that, among other things, removed the requirement to charge limited English proficient (LEP) litigants for interpreter costs in civil proceedings, sets forth an intention to provide interpreters consistent with federal legal requirements, and clarifies that state courts may provide interpreters free of charge regardless of the income of the parties. On January 22, 2015, the California Judicial Council adopted a comprehensive language access plan that provides a strategy for implementing free language services in all California State court proceedings and operations and will ensure that millions of limited English proficient individuals will have meaningful access to the state justice system. The plan reflects extensive stakeholder and Department of Justice input and will serve as an important and effective model for other states. The Judicial Council adopted the language access plan with no objection. The language access plan is another important step by the California courts to resolve the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section (FCS) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California joint Title VI investigation of the California Judicial Council and the Los Angeles County Superior Court.


The Strategic Plan for Language Access in the California Courts is located at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jc-20150122-itemK.pdf


Illinois Courts Improve Language Access Statewide:

Effective October 1, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court’s Language Access Policy, Code of Interpreter Ethics, and sample judicial bench card provide new, powerful tools to ensure meaningful access to the courts for limited English proficient communities in Illinois. The Illinois circuit courts are in the process of drafting language access plans, to be posted online this spring. Details are available at go.usa.gov/JRN9.


Rule Change Ensures Washington D.C. Residents Broader Language Access in the Courts:

The D.C. Courts have issued a new rule, Order 14-15, providing interpreters to all “…non-English and limited English proficient persons participating in court proceedings involving all case types in all divisions of the Superior Court, and to pay the cost for such services, unless such services are waived by the participant.” View the new rule at go.usa.gov/JRNT.

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal    Seal of the Department of Homeland Security 


DOJ and DHS Participate in Joint Public Webinars Exploring Challenges to Immigrant Children and Families:

On December 15 and 18, 2014, the Department of Justice, Federal Coordination and Compliance Section, and Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, participated in two free webinars open to child welfare personnel, legal professionals, advocates, and other community members working with immigrant populations. The two sessions, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status –What Judicial Officers and Court Stakeholders Need to Know and  Immigrant Families - How to Best Serve Them, were presented by Casey Family Programs, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the American Bar Association, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Participants focused on exploring the complexities that arise when working with immigrant families, including the implications of Title VI.


Webinar materials are located at http://www.ncjfcj.org/immigration-webinar-1 and http://www.ncjfcj.org/immigration-webinar-2


NASA Issues Technical Assistance Tool to Address Unconscious Bias in STEM: NASA issued its latest civil rights technical assistance tool for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) grantees on December 8, 2014. The tool, Unconscious Bias in STEM: Addressing the Challenges, is designed to provide STEM program administrators, faculty, staff and students with a better understanding and appreciation of the ways in which unconscious bias on the basis of race, national origin, and sex can impact the STEM environment, as well as fresh perspectives on how to avoid the pitfalls of such bias and maintain compliance with the law. The tool is also designed to support equal opportunity compliance officials, in their efforts to help ensure equal opportunities and to advance diversity and inclusion in STEM programs. View the tool at: go.usa.gov/JRRe.

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No