Reasonable Modifications in Court for Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities

Miriam Ruttenberg, J.D., and Kate Nemens, J.D.

Courts generally know how to provide reasonable accommodations or modifications for persons with mobility challenges, or for persons who have visual or auditory impairments. However, it is much more difficult for litigants, witnesses, jurors, and attorneys with psychiatric or intellectual challenges to request and receive reasonable accommodations to allow them equal access to the court proceedings. This session will survey state efforts to address this issue, explore what some of these accommodations should be, and discuss how to advocate successfully for systemic improvement in the courts.

Learning Goals and Objectives:

  • Acquiring a general knowledge of the nature of the problem and how it has been addressed in different jurisdictions.
  • Understanding the nature of reasonable accommodations which may be necessary for persons with psychiatric challenges during court proceedings.
  • Developing approaches for making effective requests for reasonable accommodations.
  • Identifying strategies to advocate successfully for systemic improvement in access to court accommodation.