Redesigning Court Processes and Facilities

How Does Redesigning Court Processes and Facilities Improve Access to Justice? Courtroom processes and facilities need to be designed to be user friendly.  Accessibility of services and facilities must be available for all litigants regardless of abilities or income level.  Adequate space allows all litigants to be in the courtroom to view proceedings as a learning process and to hear when their own case is called.  Facilities must be accessible for litigants with disabilities and must provide enough space for self-help attorneys, mediators, and volunteers if they are to assist the self-represented litigant.

The following resources provide guidance in this area:

CourTools: Access & Fairness. (2005). This measure provides a tool for surveying all court users about their experience in the courthouse. Comparison of results by location, division, type of customer, and across courts can inform and improve court management practices.

Macfarlane, Julie. The National Self-­Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants Final Report. (May 2013). This report looks at 259 self represented litigants in three Canadian provinces.

Access to Justice: Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants. NCSC et al. (2002)

Federal Guidance

ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments On December 5, 2006, February 27, 2007, May 7, 2007, and July 26, 2007, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice issued installments of a new technical assistance document designed to assist state and local officials to improve compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in their programs, services, activities, and facilities.

The Department of Justice lists settlement agreements on their website:

State Related Resources


Responding to Requests for Accommodations by Persons With Disabilities. (2007). San Francisco, Calif.: Judicial Council of California This online pamphlet answers many of the common questions that court personnel have concerning California's rule 1.100 for implementing the ADA.


Access to Courts: A Resource Guide to Providing Reasonable Accommodations for People with Disabilities for Judicial Officers, Probation and Court Staff. (2004). Colorado Judicial Department This guide provides judicial officers, probation, and court staff with a resource that defines when and how accommodation is to be made for people with disabilities and information concerning proper disability etiquette.


Pollock, Phillip M. and Tricia Knox. Creating Accessible Documents Using Microsoft Word. (2007). Florida State Courts System This publication illustrates how to use Microsoft Word to create documents that comply with Section 508 accessibility standards. Contained within this publication are standards and best practices so that assistive technologies (like a screen reader) can effectively "translate" the information.


A Handbook for Georgia Court Officials on Courtroom Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts.


Opening the Bench & Bar to People With Disabilities: Manual for Court Disability Coordinators. (2005). Office of the Illinois Attorney General Court Disability Coordinators (CDCs) have been established in each Illinois Judicial Circuit to assist people with disabilities in the legal system. CDCs are appointed by the Chief Judge of their Circuit Court and have access to a vast array of resources, people and agencies that can assist in ensuring program accessibility for people with disabilities in a judicial setting


Ensuring Equal Access for People with Disabilities--A Guide for Washington Courts . (August 2006). Washington State Access to Justice Board. This Guide is intended as a resource for Washington judges, administrative law judges and hearing officers, court administrators, and court staff as they work to eliminate barriers presented by their buildings and practices.