Louisiana courts will provide free language assistance to resolve civil rights investigation

State Supreme Court to offer free language assistance in La. courts to resolve civil rights issue

WASHINGTON (WAFB) - Louisiana courts will phase-in language access programs to provide free oral and written language assistance services to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals in all state court proceedings and operations.

The Louisiana Supreme Court and U.S. Department of Justice reached an agreement to provide the services as a resolution to a federal investigation into complaints alleging that Louisiana state courts failed to provide language access for LEP individuals, including a failure to provide LEP individuals with qualified interpreters in civil proceedings.

That action violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its regulations.

“This agreement is a partnership to ensure that all people, no matter their national origin, can fully and fairly access Louisiana state courts,” said U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser. “My office is committed to preventing Title VI discrimination, in all forms, in the Louisiana Judiciary.”

Louisiana state court judges will be trained to address encounters with LEP individuals and implement plans to better serve the state’s non-English speaking community.

“I commend the Louisiana Supreme Court for its commitment to work with all state courts in Louisiana to ensure meaningful access for LEP individuals,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The collaborative relationship between the Department of Justice and the Louisiana Supreme Court will only strengthen ongoing Louisiana Supreme Court efforts to ensure equal access to justice for all.”

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