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Hearing Difficulties (Courthouses)

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will make a statement on the provisions for those with hearing difficulties in courthouses in Northern Ireland. [121919]

The Northern Ireland Court Service is complying with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. In support of this, the Court Service commissioned an independent Survey Report of the court estate and has developed a programme of work that includes the provision of induction loop systems throughout the court estate. Currently, induction loop systems have been installed in the principal courtrooms at 13 locations with similar facilities scheduled for installation at the seven remaining court venues by 1 October 2003. All new court buildings are fitted with induction loop systems as standard. The Northern Ireland Court Service also arranges for the provision of interpreters for deaf and hearing impaired litigants and witnesses in all court proceedings.