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Language Access

Interpreters & Language Access in the Courts

The Court provides multilingual interpretation and general language services in court proceedings to ensure meaningful participation in the judicial court process for individuals with limited English proficiency. In doing so, the Court promotes equal access to justice to ensure that court procedures are fair and understandable for court users from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The Court provides bilingual staff at most Clerk’s Offices. When bilingual staff is not available, the Court provides telephonic interpreter assistance using the services of an outside language provider. The Court assigns qualified court interpreters in court proceedings at no cost in the following areas: criminal, juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, probate, mental health, family law, civil harassment, unlawful detainer (eviction), traffic, small claims, and other limited civil cases.

Please see the Court's Limited English Proficiency (LEP) plan for more details about language assistance at the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County.

More information about language access in the California courts is available at the California Courts website.

How to request an interpreter

To request or cancel an interpreter or to confirm that an interpreter will be available for a hearing, please contact the court’s Language Access Coordinator by email at access@santacruzcourt.org or by phone at 831-420-2425.

You may request or cancel an interpreter in person at the clerk’s office. Clerk’s offices are located in Santa Cruz at 701 Ocean Street, Room 110 and Room 120 or in Watsonville at 1 Second Street. Requests can be made during normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed for holidays). Requests for interpreters can also be made in court while your matter is being heard. Simply inform the court or your attorney that you would like an interpreter. The court may use a telephone interpretation service when an in-person interpreter is not available.

Judicial Council Form INT 300  – Court users may complete and present this form at the Civil Clerks Office (701 Ocean Street, Room 110, Santa Cruz) to request interpreters in civil cases.

The Complaint Process

If you have a complaint about access to language services, you may submit a complaint using either fillable form (Click Here for English) or (Click Here for Spanish). A Language Access Coordinator will review and respond to all interpreter and language access complaints.

The Court takes all complaints about language access very seriously and will address the concerns in an appropriate manner. Please be aware that the Language Access Coordinator does not have the authority to change or modify any decision made by a judicial officer and that its review of the complaint does not, in any way, affect or extend any applicable deadlines or procedural requirements such as filing motions, appeals, modifications, etc. You may hand deliver your complaint form at judge chambers reception at the Santa Cruz Courthouse at 701 Ocean Street or you can email it to access@santacruzcourt.org.

Language Access in Court-Ordered Services

Under new California Rule of Court 1.300, the court is working to make sure litigants are not ordered to complete outside programs that are not offered in the language the litigants speak proficiently.

Community Partners

If you are a justice partner or community provider you can use form LA-350 to inform the court of services provided, language available and types of language assistance. Complete the form and scan to our Language Coordinator at: language.access@santacruzcourt.org

These forms will be kept by the court to answer questions by court personnel regarding programs in our community and language capacity.

Litigant

If you have been ordered to complete a program outside of court such as parenting classes or anger management and you cannot comply because you cannot find a program that speaks your language you can complete form LA-400 (English), LA-400 C (Chinese), LA-400 R (Russian), LA-400 S (Spanish), LA-400 V (Vietnamese). This form will be filed in your case so the Judge can review before your next court date.

 

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