Section 11 – Solicitors and courts
Remember you or the taxpayer is paying and so you can call the tune.
1. Explain that you are hearing impaired and tell them how they can help you.
2. Sit where you can see them and hear them as well as is possible. You may have to ask them to move to a better position.
3. You could use an environmental aid to help you hear better. For example:
A portable TV aid e.g. Crescendo, Crystal, Sonido, Pocket Talker, etc. Click here to learn more about TV listeners.
Radio options include: Genie, Roger pen, etc.
Give them the microphone to clip on, or if there is more than one person you may find that the best solution is to attach the microphone to a pencil and point it at whoever is speaking.
4. If you need additional help because you cannot follow in any way ask for an interpreter (Language Service Professional) such as a lipspeaker or speech-to-text reporter. They are free if you have Legal Aid. (In court it appears that everyone is entitled to an interpreter free of charge. Don’t answer anything until the interpreter arrives.)
5. If a solicitor cannot be bothered to speak clearly enough I find another one.
6. If the solicitor has a helpful attitude I explain that I am deaf as I would be at such a disadvantage if I did not, but if they are unhelpful I find another.
7. When making appointments I always either write down what they say and ask them to check it or ask them to write it down for me and I read what they have written before putting it away in case I have not read their writing accurately. This is important not only for peace of mind but quite a lot of organisations now have a system of fines if we don’t turn up for appointments.
8. See section 5 of this chapter about Doctors, clinics and waiting areas for comments about helpers.
9. As it is often a noisy crowded room read Chapter 4 “Crowded rooms” to see if there is anything relevant such as turning your aid down.