Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to the services, programs, and activities of state and local governments. The North Carolina Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal access to all court functions.
The DAC does not have the authority to administratively grant, as an ADA accommodation, requests that involve the judicial balancing of the rights of the parties or a judge’s inherent power to manage the courtroom and proceeding. This includes requests for an extension of time, change of venue, participation in court proceedings by telephone or videoconferencing, the presence or absence of other persons in the courtroom or modifications in the way testimony is to be given. Such requests must be made by written motion to the presiding judge. The judge may consider an individual’s disability, along with other relevant factors, in granting or denying the motion. If such a request is misdirected to the DAC, to avoid prohibited ex parte communications, the DAC will not forward the request to the judge but will inform the requestor that it needs to be made by motion to the presiding judge.
Note that court filings, including motions, may be available to the public depending on the case type. If you wish a filing that is generally available to the public to be confidential you may request that the court seal the document. The procedures for sealing are provided in Rule 27 of The General Rules of Practice for Superior and District Courts. The court will grant or deny the request to seal after considering all relevant factors. Carefully consider any information that you include in your filing since there is no guarantee that your filing will be sealed.
Individuals or attorneys may contact the local Disability Access Coordinator (DAC) to make an accommodation request to access court functions. The DAC will gather information (listed in the statewide protocol) to better understand how the court can help provide a reasonable accommodation as required by the ADA. The DAC works with the local judicial authority to arrange for the requested accommodation to be made available to the person for their hearing or other court activity.
You or your attorney can request a reasonable accommodation for your participation in a court event verbally (in person or over the phone) or in writing on paper, via email, or online by completing the Disability Access Request Form.
The DAC or judicial authority will follow up with the person who made the request to ensure they know the request was received, considered, and whether the request is granted. If what is requested is not possible or not available, then the DAC works with the person and the court to try to figure out an alternative.
View the Disability Access Help Topic for additional information about ADA compliance in the courts and resources for special needs/disability services.
Accessible Courthouse Facilities
Each county in North Carolina has the responsibility to provide an accessible courthouse building with needed ramps, elevators, assistive listening systems for courtrooms, proper signage, accessible restrooms, and other accessible features (G.S. 7A-302). Contact the county manager with any concerns about the courthouse building.
The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) has a Disability Access Coordinator (DAC@nccourts.org) who may be contacted with questions and requests for assistance that could not be answered locally. Contact the DAC by phone at 919-890-1212 or