Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of
2008 (ADAAA) identify the responsibilities of courts under Title II to provide access for citizens with disabilities to programs and services offered by public entities, including courts. Michigan courts have an obligation to take proactive steps to remove barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. Nearly two million people in Michigan have some kind of disability.
With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the SCAO directed all trial courts to develop a local policy on ADA compliance and to identify the local ADA coordinator responsible for each court. The SCAO also created a work group, which developed materials that could aid judges, court administrators, clerks, and local ADA coordinators in developing local policies and procedures that are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 as a supplement to what is already available on the Department of Justice website. These materials include a new section in the Michigan Court Administration Reference Guide, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a model local administrative order and policy for accommodations.
ADA Compliance Performance Measure
Improving public access to Michigan courts is a key priority of the Michigan Supreme Court. This includes ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal and full access to our court system. To this end, the State Court Administrative Office has provided support to enhance compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including model policies, forms to be used to request accommodations, compliance handbooks, FAQs, checklists, and many other resources.
Measuring and reporting on public access can help courts recognize successful efforts and also identify ways to improve service to all Michigan residents. That's why the Trial Court Performance Measures Committee (TCPMC) has endorsed ADA compliance as a new performance measure.
Making Accommodations for the Public
The Michigan judiciary is committed to open access to judicial services. A person requiring special accommodations to appear in a Michigan court may notify the court in advance of his or her appearance so the court has the opportunity to make reasonable accommodations. See "Resources for Public Use" on the left side of this page. Requests for accommodations in the Michigan Court of Appeals should be directed to the Court's ADA Coordinator, Angela DiSessa. Requests for accommodations in the Michigan Supreme Court should be directed to the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Recommended Local Administrative Order for Processing Requests for Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. ADA protection extends not only to individuals who currently have a disability, but also to those with a record of a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or who are perceived or regarded as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Courts are encouraged to submit and adopt a local administrative order or a policy consistent with the model policy to assure that qualified individuals with disabilities have equal and full access to the judicial system. Nothing in this order shall be construed to impose limitations or to invalidate the remedies, rights, and procedures accorded to any qualified individuals with disabilities under state or federal law.
Additional Court Resources
Resources for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Persons
For a list of sign language interpreters or accommodations available for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind persons, visit the Michigan Department of Civil Rights publication page
and click the link for the Commission on Disability Concerns/Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Annie Urasky, Director
Division on Deaf, Deaf, Blind, and Hard of Hearing
110 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 800
Lansing, MI 48933
Video Phone: 517-507-3797