Monday, 31 December 2012

No interpreter available
31 December 2012

[...] "Wang said he had not understood the terms of his original driving ban imposed on October 25 because an interpreter was not available at court." [...]

Friday, 28 December 2012

Total chaos in Cambridgeshire courts due to private interpreter firm

28 December 2012

‘Total chaos’ in Cambridgeshire courts due to private interpreter firm
Cambridgeshire courts were left in “chaos” when a private contractor failed to provide adequate numbers of interpreters for defendants at trials and other legal hearings, a Parliamentary committee has ruled.
Cases had to be delayed, postponed and abandoned because Applied Language Services (ALS) only had 280 properly assessed interpreters ready for use across the UK when the courts required 1,200.
“The result was total chaos,” Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said. “Court officials have had to scramble to find qualified interpreters at short notice, individuals have been kept on remand solely because no interpreter was available and the quality of interpreters has at times been appalling.”
However, Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, who was Justice Minister at the time ALS was awarded the annual £42million contract, said the situation had improved dramatically in recent months.
“They’ve got the contract and a decision was taken earlier in the summer to let them run with it rather than end it,” he said. “We have now got to make sure it works.”
He acknowledged it was “very annoying to courts when they have interpreters booked who don’t show or aren’t up to the job” and said providing interpreters for some nationalities had been more problematic than others.
He said: “The last time I’d seen figures on it, they’d sorted it out in most areas.”
Paul Bullen, a Huntingdon magistrate he resigned before standing as the UKIP candidate in this year’s Police and Crime Commissioner election, said there were “numerous times when we’ve had to abandon cases” due to failings with interpreters.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

HP Sauce

Private Eye, page 6, issue 1330, 22nd December 2012 - 10th January 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

No Vietnamese interpreter available 
18 December 2012

[…] "… a 51-year-old Vietnamese, was charged with producing a Class B drug, and brought before South Tyneside magistrates’ court yesterday.
There was no interpreter available for Chou, who does not speak any English, and the case could not go ahead. Chou, of no fixed abode, was remanded in custody.
She was due to appear in court again today with an interpreter."

No interpreter 
18 December 2012 

"The case was adjourned until January 11 so that an interpreter could be found for Ms Ajala."

PQ - 18 December 2012 

Topical Questions 
Oral Answers to Questions - Justice 
18 December 2012 

Lorely Burt (Solihull, Liberal Democrat)
Last week, the Public Accounts Committee published its report on the Ministry of Justice’s language services contract. It concluded, among other things, that Applied Language Solutions does not have enough interpreters available to meet demand, and that the interpreters who are provided do not all have the necessary qualifications. Does the Secretary of State intend to implement the Committee’s recommendations to address those pressing issues? 

Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald, Conservative)
Interpreting services in court are at a 95% success rate, and the National Audit Office has said that we should go on and implement the proposals fully. The contract is saving us £15 million a year of taxpayers’ money, and as long as we continue to work with interpreters—we have already had an important meeting with them—the new system will be more sustainable, effective and transparent than the old one.
18 December 2012 
Lord Beecham (Labour)
My Lords, I take the Government's point about resources, but as my noble friend rightly points out, there are two sides to that equation. One is the cost to the system, which can flow from inadequate representation of defendants, adjournments and the rest of it, as well as the cost of providing it. Of course, there are defendants who get assistance in the form of interpretation. As it turns out, recent developments in interpreting services have been, to put it mildly, controversial. Contracts have been given to organisations that apparently have not performed very well, at considerable cost in terms of the fees paid to them. Equally, as might be the case in connection with people who are unable to understand proceedings and follow them unassisted, some of the interpreters who turned up to the courts were simply not up to the job. It has been something of a disaster.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wasted costs order against ALS

[...] The judge also passed a wasted costs order against court contractor Applied Language Solutions after the firm failed to send translators to two earlier court hearings.
The company was ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs, £160.75 to the defence, and £16.50 for Niedzwiedz’s bus fare.

No Bengali interpreter 
14 December 2012

[…] The absence of a Bengali interpreter at the crown court on Thursday, when Hussain had originally been due to enter his plea, drew criticism from another judge.
Judge David Goodin said: “This is yet another example of interpreters failing to appear.” He said he was “astounded” at the situation.