Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Ohio Court Leaders Attend National Language Access Summit

Ohio court leaders attended a three-day national meeting last week on improving access to justice for litigants with Limited English Proficiency.

The National Summit on Language Access in the Courts in Houston allowed state court leaders to share successful strategies and evidence-based practices in order to develop state action plans for system improvements. State team planning sessions also enabled participants to share ideas and programs.

The five-person Ohio team, which was appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, included Chief Justice O’Connor, Supreme Court Administrative Director Steven C. Hollon, Supreme Court Interpreter Services Program Manager Bruno Romero, Ashtabula Common Pleas Court General Division Judge Gary L. Yost, and Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Andrea C. Peeples.

Major themes of the conference included:

  • Training for judges and court personnel
  • Translation issues and best practices
  • Establishing and enhancing credentialing programs for interpreters
  • Funding and authorization for interpreter programs
  • Use of technology to increase efficiency
  • Collaboration models to increase available resources
  • Outreach efforts

Judge Yost called the opportunity to participate a valuable experience.

“It gave me an appreciation of the significant proactive steps the Ohio Supreme Court has already undertaken to prepare the courts of our state to meet the requirements of assuring access to justice for litigants with Limited English Proficiency, and a recognition of the scope of the challenge, going forward, to address increasing demands for interpreter services in the courts,” he said.

“I look forward to sharing insights and strategies learned at the summit with colleagues here in Ohio, to help us develop a workable plan for providing meaningful access to justice for litigants with Limited English Proficiency.”

Judge Peeples said she was excited by the opportunity to continue to serve the changing community.

“This summit contributed to providing access to national resources that already exist as well as insight into where our unique needs require us to be more creative to address Ohio’s needs,” she said. “We are fortunate to have a Supreme Court that is proactive and already aware of the issues of language access, and we now have additional tools to make sure that knowledge is continually disseminated throughout the body of the judiciary.”