March 3, 2014

PA Courts Issue New Rules For Courts Under Americans With Disabilities Act

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday issued new rules to standardize the practice of the state’s courts relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The rules are aimed at promoting uniformity and ensuring access to the Unified Judicial System's services, programs and facilities without restriction based on a disability.  The rules apply to all courts in the Commonwealth as well as Supreme Court boards and committees and other court-related entities.
Though Pennsylvania’s judiciary already has programs in place to eliminate obstacles and provide reasonable accommodations, the new rules direct all entities to formalize their ADA policies, forms and procedures consistent with the sample documents appended to the rules. This will ensure uniformity of policy and practice statewide.
Final policies and procedures must be filed with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and will be posted in court facilities and on each entity’s webpages on the Unified Judicial System website.
The court order is effective March 3.
“Pennsylvania’s judiciary has always been committed to all aspects of access to justice, including a commitment to the ADA, making sure that every citizen has equal access to courtrooms and related facilities,” said Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille. “These rules will help to ensure our courts’ policies are consistent with all ADA requirements.”
The rules were issued under Rules of Judicial Administration Nos. 250 – 252 and are a reaffirmation of the Unified Judicial System’s commitment to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.