Access for people with disability

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice is working towards providing better access to court buildings and facilities for people with disability.

If you have a disability, contact the court or tribunal you need to attend to find out about access options available to you.

Some services may be available to make it easier for you to attend court. For example, courts can arrange for information in large print or an infrared hearing loop to be available on the day of a court hearing.

Requesting reasonable adjustments

If you would like to request reasonable adjustments to improve your access when you need to attend court, please complete our Request for court assistance form.

Please return the completed form to the court you will be attending as soon as you know where and when you need to be at court.

Alternatively contact the court you are attending or the Courts Service Centre on 1300 679 272 to advise.

Inclusive services for people with a cognitive disability

Below are a few examples of how we can make our service inclusive for people with cognitive disability. 

Video guide: So you have to go to court

The department has a video guide called 'So you have to go to court' that gives basic information and tips for people with cognitive disability who are required to attend court. 

The video runs for 25 minutes.

Find out more or watch the video on the So you have to go to court page.

Support people

If a support person would help you when you attend court, please bring them with you.

People with cognitive disabilities who are involved with the criminal justice system may be able to get the support of a Justice Advocacy Service advocate.

Inclusive services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing

Below are a few examples of how we can make our service inclusive for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

Interpreters 

If you require an Auslan or sign interpreter contact the National Relay Service to contact the court or registry you will be attending to discuss your request.

Attending court: criminal and AVO matters

People who are deaf and use Auslan or a sign interpreter can, in criminal and apprehended violence (AVO) cases, ask the court to order an interpreter at no cost.

If you would like to request an interpreter, you should make the request as soon as you find out you will be going to court.

Attending court: civil claims and other court matters

For other court matters, including civil claims, you will need to organise an interpreter for yourself. Interpreters arranged for court should have full certification from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Legal specialisation certification is also recommended.

The following organisations can provide Auslan and deaf (relay) interpreters for a fee:

Hearing loops in the court room

The department offers infrared hearing loops for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment who need to attend court.

For more information, including how to order a hearing loop for when you attend court, please see our Can you hear in the courtroom? page.

To arrange the use of a hearing loop, please contact the court you are attending a two weeks before your court appearance to confirm that the hearing loop will be available for you.

On the day of court

Attend at least 30 minutes before court starts and identify yourself to the court officer. The court officer will test the system with you to make sure the settings are right for you.

Inclusive services for people with mental health issues

Below are a few examples of how we can make our service inclusive for people who have mental health issues. Inclusive services for people who have a mental health issues can include:

  • water
  • breaks if you are easily fatigued or have difficulties concentrating
  • rescheduling your appointment to another day and time when you would be less fatigued.

Inclusive services for people with physical disability

If you require disability access to any of our courthouses or tribunals, please contact the court you will be attending or the Courts Service Centre on 1300 679 272. This will ensure that arrangements can be made to provide an accessible and inclusive service.  

It is important you discuss with staff why you will be visiting and your specific disability access requirements or potential reasonable adjustments.

Inclusive services for people with a vision impairment, print or reading disability

Below are a few examples of how we can make our service inclusive for people who have a vision impairment, print or reading disability. 

Information may be able to be provided in an alternative format such as:

  • large print
  • electronic formats
  • Braille
  • audio

Depending on the type of alternative format, a number of weeks may be required to transcribe it into the requested format.

Jury service for people with disability

A number of trial courts provide disability access facilities for jurors.

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice is working to modify trial courts throughout NSW to provide wheelchair access to trial courts where juries regularly sit.

If you have a disability and are summoned to attend court as juror, contact the Sheriff's office to discuss disability access. Wherever possible, the Sheriff will arrange for reasonable adjustments to allow people with disability to participate fully as jurors.

If you have a disability that makes you unsuitable or incapable of effectively serving as a juror without reasonable accommodation, you will be exempted from jury service.

More information

Visit the Publications and videos page for further information on publications and resources for people with disability.

Related links
Last updated:

28 Oct 2022

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