USAID Supports Improving Access to Justice for People with Hearing Impairments

On May 27 and 28, 2021, the Law and Democracy Foundation jointly with the National School of Judges, State Judicial Administration (SJA), and with the support of the USAID New Justice Program, conducted an online training for representatives of court staff, SJA territorial offices and Judicial Security Services of Chernivtsi and L’viv regions. The training was carried out under the project on Improving Access to Justice for People with Hearing Impairments. The project aims to promote cooperation between sign language interpreters, courts, and SJA and improve the interaction between court staff and people with hearing impairments. A total of eight such trainings are planned to cover different regions of Ukraine.

The USAID New Justice Program is intended, among other tasks, to develop a dialogue between courts and society to improve access to justice, namely to courts and judicial services. As a part of the Ukrainian Government’s assistance to improving access to justice, we provided support to the initiative of some courts to create unimpeded access to court facilities and court services for people with disabilities. Besides, we supported the project on improving the court sign language interpreters’ knowledge of legal terminology and court proceedings. Based on the results of this project, a set of recommendations was developed, which, among other things, included the need to improve communications between court staff, court security, and people with hearing impairments. Therefore, we were happy to provide our support to developing and conducting such an innovative training on improving access to justice for people with hearing impairments,” mentioned the USAID New Justice Program’s Chief of Party David Vaughn in his opening remarks at the training.

The 4-hour training intended to cover the following topics: general notions of and stereotypes about people with hearing impairments; specifics of access to justice for people with hearing impairments; establishing communications between people with hearing impairments, court staff, and judicial security services; acquiring basic sign language skills; and interaction of court staff with sign language interpreters during the organization of court process and learning basic sign language.

During this training, we will not only discuss the general issues of access to justice for people with hearing impairments but also learn basic sign language. I am confident that this will be an interesting and useful experience for everyone,” mentioned Andrii Buryi, Chairman of the Board of the Law and Democracy Foundation, Coordinator of the division on the Judiciary and Judicial Reform in Ukraine.

In the future, it is planned to record the training and provide public access to it for interested stakeholders.

Read a story of sign language interpreter Nataliya Moskovets, one of the lecturers at this training, here.