Deaf people will no longer be excluded from jury service as reforms permit British Sign Language int


Sign language interpreters are to be permitted in jury rooms in England and Wales, enabling most deaf people to take part in jury service for the first time. . . The planned legal change announced on Monday will amend strict rules that mandate only the 12 selected members of a jury can be present during private deliberations to also allow for a British Sign Language interpreter where needed. . . While there is no specific ban on deaf people serving on juries, many have previously been found ineligible to serve or left to rely on lip-reading and limited hearing during private jury discussions. . One juror who faced rejection was Pauline Latchem, who was summoned for jury service in 2019 but excluded from serving after she requested a sign language interpreter in the jury room. . . Ms Latchem told i of the change. I think it is about time. Deaf people have been marginalised and excluded from community involvement and public duty for far too long. . . Far too often deaf people are expected to argue for or resolve issues of access for themselves, which can be lonely, demoralising and physically and emotionally exhausting. . She added. Changes like this benefit everyone, not just deaf people, but they lead to a more inclusive society for deaf, deafened people and those experiencing age-related hearing loss. . The court-employed interpreters will be contractually bound to a confidentiality agreement, stipulating their obligation to remain impartial at all times and not to divulge any information about jury discussions. . . Annie Roberts, advocacy officer at deaf charity RNID, said that it was only right that deaf people should be able to play our part in society equal to everyone else. . . She told i. Including deaf jurors will require our courts to make a huge commitment to provide the highest possible standards of accessibility. Courts will need to commit to providing registered and trained BSL interpreters and communication professionals with the necessary legal specialism to work within the courts. . . This commitment needs to be consistently provided to both deaf jurors and participants in our legal system. . . Pandemic has presented challenges for deaf people. Another woman with a hearing impairment, Lucille Grant, told i that he previous stance was pure discrimination and welcomed the change. . . Ms Grant, who relies on lip-reading instead of BSL, said that access for deaf people has become poorer in general during the pandemic because of mask-wearing and remote service provisions. . . She explained. Its not an easy experience in hospitals. For example, once only one of the staff removed her mask so that I could understand what she was telling me. Similarly, I can only have telephone consultations with my GP which is very stressful. . In a statement, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said. Disability should not be a barrier to people carrying out this most important civic duty. . . I am delighted we can open up jury service to many thousands more people and ensure our justice system becomes as accessible and inclusive as possible. . . Minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson said. I am committed to making sure disabled people can participate fully in society and this announcement is a key step forward in achieving that ambition.

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