Language Access Plan

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Amended Administrative Order 2013 - 01

LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN

In accordance with Supreme Court Administrative Order 2013-8, the court establishes this Language Access Plan (LAP) to provide for the language access needs of court users.

This LAP is the plan for the court to ensure meaningful access to court services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP).  A limited English proficient person is a person who does not speak English as his or her primary language, and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English, and by reason of his or her limitations, is not able to understand and meaningfully participate in the court process.

The purpose of the plan is to provide a framework for the provision of timely and effective language assistance to LEP persons who come in contact with the court.

The court has appointed a language access coordinator to be a contact person for the public, court staff, and SCAO concerning this plan and its implementation. The language access coordinator may be contacted through the court administrator’s office.

 

IT IS ORDERED:

Section I. Needs Assessment 

A.                Census Data

The court will make every effort to provide service to all LEP persons in the court’s service area.  The following list shows the non-English languages most frequently spoken in the court’s physical jurisdiction.

1.      Spanish or Spanish Creole (1.25%)

2.      Chinese  (0.61%), Mandarin Chinese

3.      Korean (0.43%)

4.      Vietnamese (0.42%)

5.      Arabic (0.23%)

B.        Court Experience

Based on court usage, the following list shows other non-English languages spoken in the court and not reflected in the US Census data.

1.      Not applicable

C.        Identification of LEP Persons

Court staff use the following methods to identify LEP persons:  

1.      “I Speak” cards at the front desk or counter are used to identify potential LEP individuals and what language the individual speaks.

2.      Family or friends of an individual inform the court that an individual is LEP and what language the person speaks.

3.      An attorney or investigator informs the court that a party is LEP and what language the person speaks.

Section II. Language Assistance Resources

A.        Interpreters Used In the Courtroom

The court will offer assistance to LEP persons in the courtroom by providing foreign language interpreters as required by Michigan Court Rule 1.111. 

B.        Language Services Outside the Courtroom

The court will take reasonable steps to ensure that LEP persons have meaningful access to services outside the courtroom.  This is one of the most challenging situations facing court staff, because in most situations they will encounter LEP persons without an interpreter present.  LEP persons may come in contact with court personnel via:

  • Front Desk/Counter
  • Telephone
  • Investigations

Court staff will consult with the court’s language access coordinator to determine what type of language service should be made available, based on the nature and importance of the court service to be provided and resources available.  The following language services are available:

  • “I Speak” cards.
  • Translated form which explains the general services of the probate court.  This form has been translated into the following languages: Spanish, Chinese (simple and traditional), Korean, Arabic, and Vietnamese.  Once a LEP individual identifies what services they require, the court clerk can provide the LEP individual with a packet of the corresponding forms.  Additionally, the court clerk can provide translated forms of PC666 and PC667 to the individual to further inquire as to what services they require.
  • The court maintains a list of on-call volunteer interpreters to assist LEP individuals with basic probate court services.  The volunteer interpreter will provide support to the LEP individual either in-person or over the phone.  The volunteer interpreter will coordinate with the court clerk to ensure that the LEP individual’s needs are met and to ensure proper services are provided.  If court staff is unable to contact a volunteer interpreter or the language is not identified on the list of contacts, court staff will inform the Language Access Coordinator.  The Language Access Coordinator will then determine what other services may be reasonably available.
  • Language Access Plan is available on the court’s website and at the front desk or counter.
  • During court investigations held outside of the courtroom, the court will appoint an interpreter for an LEP individual.  The interpreter will be present during the investigation in order to ensure that the LEP individual will be able to fully participate.    

C.        Service Referrals

The court will make reasonable efforts to ensure that a non-federally funded entity to which the court refers LEP persons for services has provisions for addressing their needs.  The court will consider viable alternatives if language access is not provided by such a non-federally funded entity.

A guardian ad litem conducting an investigation or court-appointed attorney shall inform the court if a party has LEP.  Once notified, the court shall appoint an interpreter or provide other services which it determines to be appropriate in order to address the party’s needs.

D.        Forms & Documents

The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) makes select translated forms available to the courts at http://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/Pages/default.aspx.

1)      Additional translated forms available to court users include:

    • Translated form which explains the general services of the probate court.  This form has been translated into the following languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
    • PC666, PC667, MC81, and MC81a   
    • Additional translated court forms will be accessible once they are made available by SCAO.

When in-person interpreters are hired for court proceedings, they are expected to provide sight interpretation of documents for LEP persons. 

2)      Courthouse translation for LEP:

    • Translated form which explains the general services of the probate court.  This form has been translated into the following languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
    • PC666, PC667,  MC81, and MC81a  

E.        Other Provisions

In an effort to provide LEP persons language access to court information, the court also provides the following:

  • _________________________________
  • _________________________________
  • _________________________________
  • _________________________________

Section III. Training

The court is committed to training its judges and court staff, and coordinating with county clerks on providing LEP persons with meaningful access to court services.  When the court provides training sessions, it will include a component addressing LEP policy and procedure and the court’s LAP.  The court is aware that staff members having contact with the public are more likely to need in-depth training on LEP policy and procedure.

The court will work with SCAO and MJI to ensure that all employees are trained on LEP policy and procedure.  Training will be offered to assist judges and staff to: identify and respond to LEP persons, increase awareness of the types of language services available, guide when and how to access those services, and effectively use language services.

The court provides to judges and court staff and offers to county clerks the following training regarding language access:

  • As provided by SCAO.
  • The Language Access Plan has been presented to and made available to all probate court staff.
  • Current staff will be instructed on how to use “I Speak” cards, translated documents, how to contact volunteer interpreters, and instructed on MCR 1.111 through a staff meeting.
  • New staff members will be given a copy of the LAP and instructed on how to use “I Speak” cards, translated documents, how to contact volunteer interpreters, and instructed on MCR 1.111.

Section IV.  Public Notification and Evaluation of Language Access Plan

A.                Language Access Plan Approval and Notification

The court’s LAP has been approved by the State Court Administrative Office.  The court will post its LAP on its public website or public notification area within the courthouse and will make copies of the LAP available upon request.

The court consulted with the following members of the community in creating its LAP:

  • Attorneys: Mike Staake, William Metros, Robert Refior, Elias Kafantaris
  • Community Mental Health
  • MSU College of Law
  • MSU Linguistic and Language Department
  • Sparrow Hospital, St. Lawrence Campus, Recipient Rights

B.        Evaluation and Review of the LAP

At the direction of SCAO, or on its own initiative, the court will assess whether the LAP needs updating.  The LAP will remain in effect unless modified or updated. Review of the following areas may indicate a need to update the LAP:  

·         Number of LEP persons requesting court interpreters or language assistance

·         Funding provided or available for languages services

·         Current language needs to determine if additional services or translated materials should be provided

·         Feedback from LEP communities within the county

·         Court staff (turnover, new hires, etc.)

·         Feedback from trainings provided by the court or SCAO/MJI

·         Viability of identified language services and resources

·         Problem areas and corrective action strategies

·         Updated census data

The language access coordinator for this court ensures this plan is followed, advises the court on potential updates to this plan, and coordinates the language access needs for the court as they arise.  The court has identified the name and contact information of the language access coordinator and advised the State Court Administrative Office.  The court will notify the SCAO regional office of any changes to the language access coordinator’s contact information, or if a new language access coordinator is named.

Effective Date:  December 11, 2013

Date: 04/04/2014  Chief Judge Signature: RICHARD J GARCIA