LAC begins Jamaica Sign Language Training for Empanelled Lawyers

                                                                                    LAC begins Jamaica Sign Language Training for Empanelled Lawyers

Kingston, Jamaica. The Legal Aid Council (LAC) has started sign language training for empanelled lawyers and employees of the government service. The training began with a sensitization session led by the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), held at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) on February 8, 2024.


The seven-week training, being offered online and face-to-face, will introduce participants to the vocabulary and structure of Jamaican Sign language (JSL) and raise awareness about the deaf culture.  

Involved in the sign language training are 20 empanelled lawyers of the Council along with staff from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). Staff members from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) working in customer service and the Social Justice Division (SJD) are also involved in the training.

Mrs Dian Watson, Executive Director of the LAC, expressed her gratitude and high expectations of the partnership. “The training will foster better communication between empanelled attorneys, the staff of the MoJ and the deaf community, enabling better communication with the deaf,” said Mrs Watson.

She continued, “We are extremely grateful to our partners, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jamaica for sponsoring this initiative which will be beneficial in years to come to the deaf community. The contribution of these partners has helped the LAC maintain its commitments to provide inclusivity and accessibility to the services we offer.”

LAC empanelled lawyer Clayton Lawrence and participant in the training spoke to its importance. “This training is a great initiative because of the opportunity it gives to understand the language and those who will use it. I sometimes have to interact with the deaf in the courtroom and this training will allow for less miscommunication and greater appreciation for them as individuals.” 

The training forms part of the Social Justice (SO-JUST) Project in Jamaica, which is focused on increasing inclusivity and equal access to justice with a focus on equity, access, participation and rights.


Caption: Kamar Groves, Technical Officer for Jamaica Association for the Deaf; Mary Angella Fatta, JSL Services Officer; Dian Watson, Executive Director for the Legal Aid Council; Maria Clark Proute, LAC empanelled attorney and Clayton H. Lawrence, Legal Aid empanelled lawyer, attendees at the JSL Training Session held at MIND on February 8, 2024.