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Limited English Proficiency Plans

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP) PLAN

The LEP Plan was developed to ensure equal access to court services for persons with limited English proficiency and hearing impaired persons. LEP persons are defined as individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. Although deaf and hard of hearing individuals are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rather than Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, they have been included in this plan insofar as they relate to the Minnesota Judicial Branch Court Interpreter Program.

What Is The Legal Basis For LEP Plans? 

The legal basis for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plans extends back to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VI prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance (which includes state courts) from discriminating against or excluding individuals on the basis of race, color, or national origin.  The United State Supreme Court has determined that excluding participants due to inability to speak English may constitute discrimination on the basis of national origin.  Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974). 

In the year 2000, former President Clinton required that all federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, create LEP regulations for all agencies receiving their financial assistance.  In result, the Department of Justice (DOJ) promulgated regulation 28 CFR 42.104(b)(2) which requires state courts to provide “meaningful access to LEP persons.” 

While these regulations are tied directly to federal funding, the requirement to provide meaningful access to LEP persons is not limited to the specific program or activity receiving federal funding.  Rather, coverage extends to all of the Minnesota Courts’ programs and activities. 

Fifth Judicial District's LEP Plans