Interpreters, language & disability access

If you have trouble understanding English you can still call us or visit a court and we’ll find an interpreter to help you.

Tell the court if you need an interpreter

Court work is mostly done in English.

If you come to the court and need to speak to staff at the counter, and you can’t communicate fluently  in English or understand what the person is saying, staff can contact a telephone based interpreter to make it easier for you to talk to us. If you might find it hard to follow what people are saying in the courtroom, or to speak English, the court can arrange for an interpreter to sit beside you and translate what you say in your own language into English, and translate what other people say into your language.

You’ll need to tell the court at least 10 working days before you need to be there. This will give the court time to get an interpreter.

Fill in this form and give it to the court:

Request for an interpreter [PDF, 161 KB]

You can also call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) or you can visit your local court. Have your case reference number handy when you talk to us.

Find a court

Te Reo Māori & New Zealand Sign Language

You have the right to speak te reo Māori or use New Zealand Sign Language in court. It’s free if the court arranges an interpreter for you to do this.

Speak te reo Māori

You’ll need to fill in a form and give it to the court and the other people in your case at least 10 working days before you need to be at court. This gives the court time to get an interpreter.

Fill in this form:

Notice of intention to speak Māori [PDF, 227 KB]

Use New Zealand Sign Language

You’ll need to tell the court at least 10 working days before you need to be there. This will give them time to get an interpreter. To arrange an interpreter, contact the court in person, by phone or by email.

Disability access & help

If you’re deaf, hearing-impaired, deafblind and/or speech-impaired you can call us through NZ Relay.

If you’re visiting a court and you have a disability, some ways the court may be able to help you include:

  • provide documents in other formats (such as Braille or bigger type) if you have a vision problem
  • use an accessible court room if you have a mobility problem
  • give you a seat near the witness or judge or get sound reinforcement if you have a hearing problem
  • serve you in a quiet place if you have a hearing problem or if you want to bring a person to sign for you
  • go through the information more fully and in plain language if you have an intellectual disability or a problem with attention, memory or decision-making.

You’ll need to tell the court at least 5 working days before you need to be there. This will give them time to get the help you need.

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