Legal Aid Lawyers to receive Sign Language Training

Legal Aid Lawyers to receive Sign Language Training

Kingston, Jamaica. The Legal Aid Council (LAC) has announced that training of empanelled lawyers in sign language will begin in 2024 to assist with the Council’s efficiency in providing legal advice to members of the deaf community.

Mrs Dian Watson, Executive Director of the LAC in an interview, indicated, that the Council has always provided legal services to the most vulnerable in society, to include the disabled. “We are focused on the mentally challenged, and those in underserved communities. We are extending our reach those unable to come to us for assistance,” she said, outlining the group of persons assisted by the Council.

“What we are doing now is making direct visits to the disabled because they are not sufficiently represented at the island-wide fairs we have had across the island. We therefore, made a decision to be very targeted and focused on the disabled,” said Mrs Watson.

To assist with the challenges experienced in providing justice services to the disabled community, the LAC has partnered with stakeholders of the communities of persons with disabilities to assist with the delivery of service, which includes but not limited to interpreters. Additionally, the council has been building internal capacity receiving training on intellectual disabilities as well as developing media resources to include brail to reach the visually impaired. Stakeholder discussions have also been assisting in identifying the gaps to address the deficiencies.

The Disabilities Act which came into effect February 14, 2022, outlines access to include free movement, use of benefits and the ability to receive and understand information. This aligns with the mandate of the Ministry of Justice as the organization seeks to increase justice for all Jamaicans, including persons living with disabilities.