Is sign language an officially recognized language in the courts?

Relates to Convention Article:

  • No.13, Access to justice

In detail

Brief explanation of the question

Article 13 prescribes that “States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations …”

Therefore, with respect to the courts, participation within the judicial system should be as effective and direct as possible in all roles. Persons with hearing impairments only enjoy equal access to justice if sign language is an officially court-recognised language; otherwise, for example, interpreters may not be automatically permitted, or the court may not cover the costs for interpreters. This question was selected primarily because it permits the implementation of this point to be very clearly determined.

Summary of results

The EU is doing better in comparison of the rest of the world as regards the officially recognized sign language. Regarding access to justice, it may be true that sign language is officially recognized in court, but – quoting one comment – “It is very unusual that the interpreter is paid directly by the State”.

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