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SRLN Brief: LEP Language Access Resources (SRLN 2015)

Without proper language assistance, Limited English Proficient (LEP) court users are excluded from meaningful participation in the courts. Federal laws particularly applicable to language access include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Title VI regulations, prohibiting discrimination based on national origin, and Executive Order 13166 issued in 2000. Many individual federal programs, states, and localities also have provisions requiring language services for LEP individuals.

Leading national resources for those wishing to learn more include the following:

  • The federal interagency website, lep.gov

  • The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Language Access Services Section (LASS) that provides state courts with resources to overcome language barriers in the courts to ensure that providing individuals with limited English proficiency with access to the courts is a core function of the courts. LASS works closely with the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) through the Language Access Advisory Committee (LAAC) and the Council of Language Access Coordinators (CLAC).

  • Court self-help centers are often staffed with native speakers in a variety of languages, and therefore self-help center managers and staff are a significant resouce on how to deliver services and maintain resources in a multi-lingual environment.The NCSC also has a small collection of resources addressing LEP issues and the self-represented litigant.

  • The Legal Services Corporation also maintains resources for its grantees at Language Access I LRI and webinars through Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (LSNTAP).

  • The healthcare sector is rich in  resources to support language access and effective communication. A general google search will bring back many resources and educational materials, including many webinars loaded to YouTube. One particularly useful site is Refugee Health Technical Assistance.