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For Immediate Release

Maryland Judiciary Expands Language Resources

Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, and Chinese Language Portals
Improve Access to Justice throughout the State’s Courts

 

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND (October 11, 2016) – The Maryland Judiciary has greatly expanded access to court resources for people with limited English proficiency through new portals on the Judiciary’s website that offer the most-requested resources in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Korean.  The online portals provide fully translated informational resources, including court forms, requests for interpreter services, brochures, and information about the courts.  Each language portal opens with a video introduction to Maryland’s courts narrated in that language. 

“The Judiciary is committed to ensuring access to justice to all Maryland residents, including those whose first language is other than English.  Consistent with our Strategic Plan, these five new language portals remove barriers for people who need information about accessing our courts and court services,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.  “Responding to the needs of all those who visit the Judiciary’s website upholds our mission to advance fair, efficient, and effective justice for all throughout Maryland.” 

Language Portals and Globe of Flags The portals meet the highest standards of language access and are easily accessed by clicking on the language icon prominently displayed on the Judiciary’s website.

The online language portals complement existing language services provided by Maryland courts.  Through the use of interpreters, bilingual staff, and telephonic interpretation, the courts serve people with limited English proficiency at clerk’s offices and counters, by telephone, and in self-help centers, commissioner’s offices, mediation, evaluations, and educational programs.  Posters that detail the courts’ language services are printed in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Korean and are displayed in Circuit Courts and District Court locations statewide.

Maryland is recognized as a national leader for providing fair, efficient, and effective justice for all who enter its courts, ranking fourth in the nation for overall performance, according to the Justice Index, a project of the National Center for Access to Justice.  The composite index compares all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico by attorney access and services associated with self-representation, language, and disabilities.  Earlier this year, the Justice Index praised Maryland as one of the states “leading the way in adopting promising new civil legal aid models that can empower people to successfully navigate the justice system.”

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