July 01, 2017

Ensuring Equal Access to Justice for Limited English Proficiency Individuals

By Judge Lynn W. Davis and Scott A. Isaacson

Imagine being thrown into a complex, stressful, and unfamiliar situation where personal, financial, familial, or liberty interests might be at stake. You might be confused, frustrated, or afraid. You recognize that it is a critical time to understand and be understood—to express yourself. However, at this critical moment, you realize that you cannot communicate. You don’t understand the words being spoken to you or being spoken around you. You find that you can’t share your thoughts, feelings, fears, or expectations. For some, this might just be a nightmare from which they soon wake to welcome relief. For other limited English proficiency (LEP) persons in some courts, this might be reality.

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