Innovative Policy 2018 on Accessibility

Court verdicts and summonses in easy language

The Family Court in Oviedo, in the Spanish province of Asturias, has begun drafting copies of court verdicts and summonses in easy language for persons with intellectual disabilities. The courts send their official documentation to Plena Inclusión Asturias, a regional office of the national NGO Plena Inclusión España, that supports persons with intellectual disabilities, which then converts the documentation into easy language to share with the intended recipient. Following a successful pilot in Oviedo, an agreement has been reached with the provincial government to extend the system to all 27 courts in the province. As of late 2017, about 30 documents have been converted.

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:
  • Court verdicts and summonses in easy language
  • CRPD Article 13 – Access to justice
  • Responsible Body:Plena Inclusión, Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Asturias and the Government of the Principality of Asturias
    Country
    of Implementation
    Spain

    FACTS & FIGURES

    • 30 documents have been converted to date.
    • The policy has been extended to all 27 courts in the Asturias region beginning in 2018.

    PROBLEMS TARGETED

    Complex court verdicts and summonses can be difficult to understand, particularly for persons with intellectual impairments.

    SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

    The Family Court in Oviedo was among the first in Europe to draft copies of verdicts and summonses in easy language for persons with intellectual disabilities. A pilot was carried out in cases of proceedings for modification of legal capacity.
    Once the official decision is written, the court sends the paperwork to Plena Inclusión Asturias, which converts it into easy language. The easy-language document is then validated by an expert team, which includes persons with disabilities. If these persons do not understand any part of it, it undergoes further revision. The final converted document is then checked by the court and sent to the recipient. This allows persons with intellectual disabilities to take part in court cases and to better understand what has happened in the proceedings, for example, what modifications have taken place in their legal capacity.

    A person with visual impairments reading a document with a special magnifier.Since implementing the process, all cases at the Family Court of Oviedo that involve a person with an intellectual disability have the verdicts accompanied by the text in easy language. In addition, a similar easy-language model has been developed for court summons. Around 30 documents have been converted as of late 2017. Following the pilot, an agreement was reached with the regional government of Asturias to secure funding to extend the system to all 27 courts in the region in 2018.

    OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

    Since the agreement, there has also been contact with the Spanish Council for Judiciary with the hope of rolling-out the translation process across the whole country, thereby opening access to the justice system to all persons with intellectual disabilities. The regional authorities of Andalucía, Aragón, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, and Valencia have all begun work to reproduce the initiative, alongside the other regional offices of Plena Inclusión.
    The project has been initially funded by Plena Inclusión Asturias, but the agreement with the regional government of Asturias has secured funding so that it will pay for the conversion of documents by Plena Inclusión going forward.

    CONTACT

    Juan Carlos Garcia Lopez
    Spanish legal Council for the Judiciary
    jc.garcia@poderjudicial.es

    Casilda Sabín Fernández
    Plena Inclusión Asturias
    accesibilidad@plenainclusionasturias.org

    FACTSHEET

    Download factsheet as accessible pdf
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