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Our policy on accessibility generally

Our aim is to provide top class facilities for all users of the courts, including judges, staff, legal practitioners, victims, witnesses, accused persons, media and members of the public.

Providing facilities for all court users

Everyone who attends courts presents with a different set of circumstances, a varying degree of understanding and a personalised set of needs. We recognise that access does not stop at the level of physical access to and within buildings. We are conscious that access to information, the understanding of court processes and inclusion in court proceedings need to be provided in an atmosphere of equality. We are engaged in a major programme of improvements and enhancements to improve facilities across a wide variety of areas including court buildings, publications and our website.

Measures we have taken to improve access to the courts;

  • Members of the public and those with cases before the court can adapt hearing aids to make use of induction loops which form part of our public address system in the courtrooms of refurbished buildings
  • All refurbished courthouses have signage and directions at doorways and entrances and exits
  • Signage and contact details for court offices are in Braille
  • Wheelchair ramps are provided in many courthouses
  • Wheelchair users can give evidence in many courthouses at the front of the court beside the witness box

Access officer

Marie Lacy. Tel. +353 1 888 6082. Email QCSO@courts.ie

Access to records of court hearings

Court records are under the control of the judge before whom the proceedings are heard. Any request for access to a record of a court hearing must be made to the judge by application in the proceedings concerned in accordance with the relevant rules of court. It is a matter for that judge to decide whether access is to be made available and in what format. The applicant will generally be required to pay the full economic cost of obtaining and providing any records to which access is given.

The rules of court governing the procedure to be followed when seeking access to the record of court proceedings and the terms on which access may be allowed are prescribed in the following statutory instruments:

• S.I. No. 99 of 2013 – District Court (Recording of Proceedings) Rules 2013
• S.I. No. 100 of 2013 – Circuit Court (Recording of Proceedings) Rules 2012
• S.I. No. 101 of 2013 – Rules of the Superior Courts (Order 123) 2013.

Accessibility award

The Courts Service successfully participated in the O2 Ability Awards 2010 programme and achieved the status of 'Ability Company' in the following area of best practice: 'Environmental Accessibility'. 

Accessibility Award 2010 graphic

Our website

We aim to present the content of our site in plain language in so far as is possible. In some sections the text used may be more legalistic because of the nature of the content (for example, court rules, references to legislation and court judgments).

We are committed to ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. The majority of pages on our site conform to WC3/WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Conformance Level A. These are the guidelines adopted by the Irish National Disability Authority. We have also used the Bobby tool and a Vischeck (for colour contrast) to test our website for compliance. We are working on an ongoing basis to improve our level of compliance and as such are aiming at level 2 (AA) compliance in the near future. Please bear with us while we work to improve the accessibility level of our site.

Our publications

We aim to present our leaflets and booklets in plain language, in a variety of languages and in a variety of formats. All our publications are published to our website in PDF. Many are also published in HTML.

If you experience any difficulty in the accessibility or general usability of our site (whether related to disability or not), or have general suggestions for improving the site design then we would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Please e-mail your comments and suggestions to: sitecomments@courts.ie