Opening the Bench and Bar to People with Disabilities
Access to the legal system is a basic necessity in our society. Most people with disabilities want to participate in the legal system - as jurors, witnesses, litigants, attorneys or judges. In addition to participating in the legal system, people with disabilities seek legal representation for other purposes such as buying a home, obtaining a divorce, drafting a will or planning for retirement. In some cases, however, physical, attitudinal or informational barriers keep them from participating in the legal process or obtaining legal representation. The Attorney Generalís Office works to ensure that people with disabilities have access to every aspect of the legal system by distributing educational information, such as Opening the Bench and Bar to People with Disabilities, and training a network of court disability coordinators who receive and disseminate information regarding accommodating people with disabilities in a judicial setting.
Court Disability Coordinators
Court Disability Coordinators (CDCs) are persons who have been appointed by the Chief Judge of their circuit court. They are professionals who currently have various duties and specific expertise in some aspect of the judicial process. Court Disability Coordinators have access to a vast array of people and agencies that can help ensure program accessibility for people with disabilities as well as the statute regarding sign language interpreters. CDCs have been given guidelines for determining who is a protected person with a disability, what constitutes program accessibility and how it can be achieved.
To obtain the name of the Court Disability Coordinator in your area, contact the Disability Rights Bureau in Springfield at 1-217-524-2660 and 1-877-844-5461 (TTY) or in Chicago at 312-814-5684 and 1-800-964-3013 (TTY).