Highlighting sign language resources in courts

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of New Zealand’s official languages alongside Māori and English.

To commemorate NZSL week (8-15 May), we took a look at what services the Ministry of Justice has available to help deaf and hearing impaired people navigate their way through the justice system.

People in New Zealand have the right to use NZSL in court. The court can arrange to have an interpreter for anyone who needs one. This is free of charge if arranged by a court case officer, who will need at least 10 days notice to organise for an interpreter to be present.

“Using a sign language interpreter in court can dramatically improve the experience of deaf and hearing-impaired people,” said Operations and Service Delivery Group Manager Jacquelyn Shannon. "It is a way to empower our customers and ensure we provide them with the best possible service.”

When calling the court or Ministry of Justice, people also have access to New Zealand Relay(external link). This is a telecommunications service that involves a relay assistant serving as the "ears and voice" on phone calls.

Attitude Live, in conjunction with Deaf Aotearoa, have created a video aimed at young hearing impaired people. This video focuses on the New Zealand court system and how the resources available help make the experience less daunting for them. 

This video is available to watch on the Attitude Live website(external link).

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