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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Going to court if you are blind or visually impaired

If you are a blind or visually impaired person, the court should provide information about the communication support and facilities that are available to you.

Facilities and services at court

You should be able to visit the court before you formally need to attend court. This will give you a chance to get a feel for the surroundings and to ask the customer service officer any questions you may have.

To arrange a pre-court visit, contact the customer service officer at the court you are due to attend. You can find details about how to contact the court by using the following court finder service.

Information in alternative formats

The leaflets 'Witness in Court' and 'Victim of Crime' are available from the court and the police, in Braille and audio recording formats.

You can contact the court or the police to find out about other information that's available in alternative formats, for example Braille and large print. Alternatively, you can also contact HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Assistance and guide dogs

Assistance and guide dog are allowed into the courtroom. Going to court, particularly as a jury member, can mean long days. If required, it should be possible for your dog to be looked after while you are in the courtroom.

If a court session is long and your dog needs a break, you may need to arrange this with the judge via courtroom staff.

Someone may also be able to take your dog for a walk.

If you require any of these services, contact a member of court staff. They will be able to discuss your requirements and make any necessary arrangements.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and going to court

In certain circumstances, the DDA allows public bodies to justify less favourable treatment. This is to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the rights of disabled people and wider concerns.

For example, a decision not to call a blind person for jury service where the jury must consider a vital amount of visual evidence.

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