Monmouth County Courthouse Increases Spanish Language Services

Visitors to the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold may notice changes that have been made recently to signage and informational services throughout the building. In an effort to accommodate Spanish-speaking litigants, the courthouse has implemented a number of measures to help non-English speakers and those more comfortable in the Spanish language to access services and find their way to their assigned courtroom.

After input from local advocacy groups, including the Latino Coalition of Freehold, and a recent visit from U.S. Department of Justice officials, Acting Administrative Director of the Courts Glenn Grant announced last week that Spanish-language interpreters will now be more readily available and additional directional signs in Spanish will be posted around the Freehold building.

According to a letter sent by Grant on October 15 (via the NJ Law Journal), vicinage officials “are committed to ensuring equal access for all who come to the Monmouth County Courthouse to complete court business, including [limited English proficiency] individuals.” He also outlined the following changes being put in place in Freehold:

• Whereas interpreters historically had been provided on an as-needed basis in Special Civil Part, they are now being assigned before, during and after small claims and landlord-tenant calendar calls.

• Courthouse directional maps, signs, LCD displays listing judges’ names and courtroom numbers and computerized kiosks are in both English and Spanish as of October 11.

• Central Fee Office signage is also being translated into Spanish.

• The vicinage has instructed staff that any person who encounters difficulty completing court business because of lack of English proficiency should be brought to the trial court administrator’s office for immediate attending.

• Signs are being posted directing non-English speakers who feel they have not been properly served to speak to the trial court administrator or operations manager.

• Computer terminals that allow the public to look up cases will offer instructions in both English and Spanish, and records request forms will be translated.

In response to the changes, a spokesperson on behalf of the Latino Coalition of Freehold said the group will continue to monitor the changes and identify any language barriers that remain.

In its own efforts to help Spanish speakers access legal information and counsel, Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, with offices in Freehold, has increased outreach by providing an increased number of Spanish language legal services and website pages concerning divorce and family law matters. Bilingual staff members, including attorney Raquel Vallejo (fluent Spanish; conversational Portuguese) and Laura Mendonca (fluent Portuguese; Spanish proficient), are also available to represent Spanish speaking clients.

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group’s Spanish language resources can be found here:

Derecho de Familia y Divorcio Abogados en New Jersey