Equality and diversity

How HM Courts & Tribunals Service supports court and tribunal users with disabilities.

At HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) we want to provide:

  • an experience that works for everyone
  • services that people with disabilities can use independently where possible
  • services that can be used in a fair way

We know that people with disabilities sometimes need our help and support to use our services. This can mean that we need to provide something different so you can access and use our services in the same way as a person without a disability. We often call this a reasonable adjustment.

What is a reasonable adjustment?

This is how we offer support to people with disabilities to make sure they can access HMCTS without any barriers.

The Equality Act 2010 protects the rights of people living with disabilities. This means we have a legal duty to help and support where we can. You will find reasonable adjustments in section 20 of the Act.

People with disabilities know what is difficult for them. By listening carefully and responding to what they need, we can make a real difference and help to provide an experience that works for everyone.

What reasonable adjustments can we provide?

We’re able to do lots of things that mean that people with disabilities can use our services independently wherever possible and in a way that is fair, for example:

  • providing our forms in large print
  • providing our guidance in audio or easy read
  • making sure hearing enhancement systems are available in every court and tribunal building
  • providing a separate waiting area
  • making sure ramps and lifts are available

This list doesn’t include everything we can do to help, and we’ll always talk to you first about what you need.

If you need help or support in the hearing room, we will also discuss this with the judge hearing your case. Judges are committed to making sure everyone can give their best evidence and everyone has a fair hearing.

How to arrange a reasonable adjustment?

Disabilities affect people differently so we won’t always know what will help. If you have a disability that means you can’t access our information and services please get in touch with us. You can request help and support as a reasonable adjustment by phone, in person or in writing.

Our contact details will be on any letters you receive from us or you can contact your local court or tribunal.

To help us provide the best help and support, you should try to explain how your disability affects you and give as much information as you can. This will help our staff or the judge to consider what you’ll need to do during your case and any help we can provide. Our staff will always talk with you and agree any reasonable adjustments you need.