The North Carolina Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities can participate fully and fairly in court programs, services, and activities.
If you are a person with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation, contact the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court
in the county where the hearing or other court activity is scheduled. You will be routed to the appropriate person. Please be prepared to provide the following essential information:
- The name of the person needing the assistance
- The exact type of accommodation requested
- The case file number
- The date and time of the trial or hearing
- Is the person needing the assistance the plaintiff, defendant or witness in the trial or hearing?
- Is the person represented by an attorney, and if so, what is the contact information for the attorney?
North Carolina law (G.S. Chapter 8B) has long required that a qualified interpreter be provided in any civil or criminal proceeding for any party or witness who is deaf or hard of hearing. Upon a finding by the court that a sign language interpreter is required, the court will make arrangements to appoint a qualified interpreter and will pay the interpreter's fees. To help judges, clerks and others, the Administrative Office of the Courts has prepared some Guidelines for Accommodating Persons Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in the Courts.
The Administrative Office of the Courts has developed a training video for court personnel about disabilities in general and specific accommodations that can be provided in court settings. The AOC has also coordinated a system to ensure that a responsible employee is designated in every courthouse to help arrange needed accommodations, and has established a grievance procedure for complaints about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The AOC's "ADA Coordinator" is identified in the grievance procedures and may be contacted with questions and requests for assistance that could not be answered by the local clerk's office.
Court Facilities: Each county in North Carolina, as opposed to the court system, has the responsibility to provide an accessible courthouse with needed ramps, elevators, assistive listening systems for courtrooms, proper signage, accessible restrooms and other accessible features of the court building. While the court will take every reasonable measure within its authority to ensure access to its programs and activities, the county manager should be contacted with concerns about the courthouse building itself.
Links to additional Information:
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, maintains current lists of qualified interpreters and provides the lists to the Clerk of Superior Court in every county. To locate a qualified interpreter, the Division's Interpreter Directory lists interpreters and their certification levels, by region and statewide. That page of the Division's web site also includes a link to a national registry of interpreters, and a "fact sheet" with the Division's interpretation of the North Carolina law regarding licensing of deaf language interpreters (N.C.G.S. Chapter 90D).
Other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services provide disabilities information and services including services for the blind and for mental health and developmental disabilities.
General disabilities information or assistance are available from: