Supreme Court Adopts New Plan to Expand Access to Justice for those with Limited English Proficiency

Topeka, KS—The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted a new plan to expand access to justice for court users with limited English proficiency.

The Language Access Plan was created by the Supreme Court’s Language Access Committee and it serves as a blueprint for providing language assistance to court users with limited English proficiency. It includes an overview of current language access services and a plan for expanding those services.

The committee began developing the statewide language access plan in late 2021 and presented it to the Supreme Court in fall 2022. The committee’s efforts were guided by the committee’s chair, District Judge Teresa Watson. Watson serves in the 3rd Judicial District, which is Shawnee County.

“The Language Access Committee has been making advances in language access in our court system since the committee was formed in 2014,” Watson said. “I am grateful to the committee for their diligence in producing this roadmap for our courts.”

The plan assesses and gives guidance, advice, and recommendations on relevant state demographics and language access needs, the language access infrastructure in Kansas, court interpreter requirements, court education and training, and other related resources.

“A strategic goal set by the Supreme Court several years ago was to maximize access to and promote justice,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “Adopting this statewide language access plan is another key step toward realizing that goal for all court users.”

The Language Access Committee was created under Supreme Court Rule 1701. The committee makes recommendations to the Supreme Court for developing and administering a comprehensive language access program. Its aim is to make Kansas courts accessible to people with limited English proficiency.

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