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The Justice Department announced today that it has closed its review of the Language Access Program of the Mohave County, Arizona Superior Court. The closure follows the court’s successful completion of its obligations under an agreement to provide language assistance services to all limited English proficient (LEP) court users. The Civil Rights Division began working with the Mohave County Superior Court in 2013 following the receipt of a complaint by a court user alleging that the court discriminated on the basis of national origin in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to provide her an interpreter free of charge in a family law matter. Title VI requires recipients of federal financial assistance, such as courts, to provide competent language services free of charge to LEP individuals in all court proceedings and operations.
With the department’s assistance, the Mohave County Superior Court has made a number of improvements to its Language Access Program, including:
“I commend the Mohave Superior Court leadership and staff for their efforts to provide all communities with equal access to justice regardless of the language they speak,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “As Mohave and other courts across Arizona continue to improve language services, we welcome the opportunity to provide assistance when needed.”
The department has worked with courts across the country to improve the provision of language services to LEP individuals. Information on an array of state court language access resources can be found here: http://www.lep.gov/resources/resources.html#SC. In 2014, the department released a “Language Access Planning and Technical Assistance Tool for Courts” which provides court systems with a series of questions to consider as they develop and implement plans to provide language assistance.