Lena is Deaf and requires an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to communicate. Since the ASL interpreter is not available daily in Lena’s particular borough, the client is only able to appear on certain days of the week that correspond with the ASL interpreter’s availability and the court calendar. Even when interpreters are ordered by the court to appear, very frequently they do not appear or appear with great delays, causing litigants’ cases to be administratively adjourned.
Such needless delays have significant safety risks to our clients. Delays in court can be lost opportunities to make emergency applications regarding the safety of the client or their children. It may be several months until they have another opportunity to be heard. These delays are also a financial burden to clients paying for private counsel, incurring expensive attorney’s fees that produced no result.
Simplifying the court system will enable these limited resources to be more readily available-decreasing the time interpreters spend traveling between courthouses and better coordinating their appearances.