HC Deb 19 October 1999 vol 336 c570W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to provide(a) sign language interpreters and (b) other facilities to enable people suffering from hearing loss to observe magistrates courts proceedings. [94403]

Jane Kennedy

Arrangements are in place for the provision of sign language interpreters for defendants and witnesses appearing in criminal proceedings in England and Wales. However, there are no plans to provide such interpreters for a member of the public who visits the court to observe the proceedings. The Lord Chancellor's Department has issued guidance to magistrate's courts committees and local authorities on the court environment and range of physical facilities that we would expect to be provided to enable those court users with hearing difficulties to observe magistrates court proceedings. Provision of such facilities is a matter for the magistrates courts committee and local authority.