Virginia's Judicial System

Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325), which became effective on January 1, 2009, directly affects the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia as providers of public programs and services. In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134; and the regulations contained in 28 C.F.R. Part 35, § 35.101 et seq., Virginia courts will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in their services, programs, or activities. The Code of Virginia (§ 19.2-164.1 and § 8.01-384.1) requires courts to procure interpreters for the deaf through the Virginia Department of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) in criminal and civil cases, respectively. Communication Services are procured under a Memorandum of Understanding with VDDHH. The Virginia court system seeks to provide maximum benefits to the deaf and hard-of-hearing in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.

ADA Resource Card
This information sheet addresses common ADA accommodations within the court system, to include communication services provided by interpreters for the deaf.

Interpreter for the Deaf Complaint Form
Although VDDHH coordinates court-related service events, all questions and concerns about the provision of meaningful communication in court cases for those who are deaf or hard of hearing should be directed to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at the Office of the Executive Secretary using the form found here. Anyone aware of a complaint about communication services, even if not a direct participant to a case, may make a complaint on another’s behalf.

Interpreter for the Deaf Request Form
Magistrates, court appointed attorneys, and other court personnel may use this form if requiring the services of a sign language interpreter. In addition to court cases, this may be used for pre-disposition court-related assignments, such as court-ordered driver improvement clinics, meetings between court-appointed attorneys and their clients, filing a petition, and other court matters. Requests may be made on behalf of deaf individuals who are not actively involved in the case as defendants, plaintiffs, or witnesses (such as deaf individuals interested in a case involving parties who are not deaf).