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Going to court and accessibility

If you have to go to court as a witness, juror, victim or defendant you may need extra support or facilities. Courtrooms and places where civil or family proceedings are held should be accessible to disabled people.

Preparing to go to court

If you have to go to court, the court will send you details such as the date and time of the hearing, court opening hours and location. You will also be sent details about the court including:

  • arrangements, facilities and support for disabled people
  • a helpline telephone or textphone number so you can get further information

You can help the court to ensure that things run smoothly by telling them in advance if you have any requirements.

You can take a friend, relative or carer to court. They will not be able to get expenses such as travel costs unless the court agrees that they have to be there - perhaps to assist you.

Facilities at courts

Courts must provide a reasonable alternative method of making services available to disabled people, where a physical feature makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of them.

Types of facilities and 'reasonable adjustments' court buildings should put in place include:

  • disabled parking spaces near to the courthouse
  • hearing aid induction loops in courtrooms
  • information leaflets and oath cards available in large print
  • advice and information on court procedure
  • staff trained to assist disabled people when necessary

Contact the court for information about the services and facilities available. Most courts have a 'customer service officer' who can answer any questions you may have. If required, staff can organise a court visit in order to familiarise you with the court building. Details about how to contact the court will be on any correspondence you have been sent.

You can also look up court addresses, contact details, facilities and maps, and download local information leaflets on the HM Courts Service online court finder.

Being summoned to be a juror

Jury summons forms ask you if you will need any extra requirements. Additional information will then be sent to you once the jury summoning bureau has processed the reply to your summons and this will tell you about the court facilities.

The Criminal Justice System website has lots of information about being a juror, including a 'virtual walk-through' of a day on jury service.

Her Majesty's Court Service

Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) carries out the administration and support for the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Crown Court, the magistrates' courts, the county courts and the Probate Service. It has the remit to deliver justice effectively and efficiently to the public.

There is more information about how HMCS, including how it is structured, on the HMCS website.

Additional links

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