The State Bar of Michigan Equal Access Initiative and Committee on Justice Initiatives will present a panel discussion on "Language Access—Best Practices in Michigan Courts" at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 19 at the SBM Annual Meeting in DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
The Michigan Supreme Court adopted language access rules in September of 2013 to assure access to justice for people with limited English proficiency. All of the state's trial courts have adopted plans to improve access to the courts for those with limited English proficiency, and they are working with legal practitioners and their local communities to implement the new rules.
The panel discussion, moderated by SBM Equal Access Initiative Co-Chair Maya Watson, will review MCR 1.111, MCR 8.127 and the American Bar Association Standards for Language Access in Courts. The panel will include Hon. Christopher Yates, Hon. William Kelly, Donna Bos and Angela Tripp. They will show attendees how to use the request and order form for interpreters on the Michigan Legal Help website and introduce the Spanish version of the website. The panel will discuss judicial discretion in determining the need for interpreters, criteria and tests for certification of foreign language interpreters, practical tips for how to work with interpreters and best practices for courtroom and courthouse operations.
The program is free to attend for anyone who is interested, but organizers hope as many judges, attorneys, court staff members, access to justice advocates, language interpreters and community partners as possible will attend.