Language Access Resources
September 11, 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court adopted several court rules designed
to ensure that all people, including those who are Limited English Proficient
(LEP), have meaningful access to Michigan courts. MCR 1.111 establishes requirements for all
courts to provide court-appointed foreign language interpreters for LEP persons
and MCR 8.127 created a board to recommend interpreter certification
requirements and to review complaints against interpreters. See further details.
Foreign Language Board of Review
The Foreign Language Board of Review, staffed by the State Court Administrative Office, establishes criteria for certification of foreign language interpreters and administers tests for certification of court interpreters in accordance with Michigan Court Rule 8.127. The State Court Administrative Office provides an executive secretary for the board; is responsible for administering tests, maintaining certification lists, and enforcing sanctions for failure to conform to certification and other rules; and publishes guidelines for foreign language interpreters. See details.
Interpreters for court proceedings and related matters can be requested through the courts. Each court has assigned a language access coordinator to facilitate this process. As the sole testing and certification authority for spoken language court interpreters in Michigan, the State Court Administrative Office maintains a list of interpreters to facilitate access to the courts for limited English-proficient (LEP) persons. The objectives of the court interpreter testing and certification program are to identify individuals who possess the required knowledge and skills for court interpretation and to expand the pool of certified and qualified interpreters who are available to assist the courts in the conduct of interpreted proceedings. Details about testing and certification and resources for interpreters are available at Language Access Certification Program. Click here for Resources for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Persons.
Language Access Plans
Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2013-8 requires courts to adopt language access plans specifying how court staff will overcome language barriers outside the courtroom. Several resources exist to aid a court in developing a language access plan, including an excerpt from guidance of the United States Department of Justice. A list of language access coordinators for all courts, by county, is available. To update contact information for a trial court's language access coordinator, complete the Language Access Coordinator Contact Information and return it to the State Court Administrative Regional Office.
Language Access Program
The Language Access Program was established to ensure that all persons in Michigan, regardless of their proficiency in the English language, have the right to equal access to the courts and to justice, and have the right to access all of the services and programs provided in court facilities. The State Court Administrative Office provides resources to assist the courts in this endeavor, including testing and certification of interpreters, translated forms and other relevant materials, and guidance for the trial courts and interpreters.
One of the key objectives of the State Court Administrative Office is to translate vital documents, including SCAO-approved court forms, for use by persons with limited English proficiency to assist those persons to meaningfully participate in court proceedings. The translated forms are an aid in understanding English court forms, procedures, and other materials. The translated forms cannot be filed with the court as official pleadings or documents pursuant to Michigan Court Rules. As they are developed and translated, the court forms will be made available on this website at Translated Forms. In addition, related materials and the court forms will be made available on Michigan Legal Help.
A Request and Order for Interpreter (form MC 81) and a Review of Request for Interpreter and Order (form MC 81a) are also available in bi-lingual format in Arabic/English, simplified Chinese/English, Korean/English, Serbo-Croatian/English, Spanish/English, and Vietnamese/English.