ALS/Capita workers unavailable for trials lasting several days
I was booked by solicitors to go to Wood Green Crown Court last week for a short trial in a case of the client with whom I've done some work in the past with the same solicitors. When I arrived in the morning, I was informed there was another interpreter already present. I found him and introduced myself. He is ALS, of course. I asked him about rates. He told me he was getting £22ph + £20ph travel time and that he had come down from Birmingham to do this job.
I also spoke to a nice lady in the listings office. She told me that the policy at Wood Green had recently changed and that they were now obliged to go through ALS, like other courts, and that my solicitors had been informed of this. She said there had been many problems and that the faces she was seeing were all new, which I thought was encouraging. I had nothing to do but leave with dignity. However, the following morning at 9 am I got called from Wood Green asking if I could attend for the same case. The barristers told me when I arrived that the previous interpreter had said he could not return for the 2nd day, I don't know why. More interestingly though, everybody, the defence and prosecution, clerk, judge, defendant were highly critical of this interpreter's performance. They were mostly annoyed with him for talking much too loud in the dock, rather than whispering, but also said that he seemed not to have a particularly strong grasp of either Spanish or English.
Generally I have heard nothing positive about ALS since they got this contract.