ALS/Capita service too cheap to care about quality?
I have been told this story by a colleague who happened to have a good chat with a foreign defendant who she had interpreted for before. He told her that he’d had two different hearings in a Crown Court the name of which I will keep undisclosed. Both times the defendant had to attend court he got given different unqualified ALS interpreters. They were native Russian speakers but that was the only joy of it, he could understand more English than those linguists did. It seems clear to me that these interpreters broke the interpreter's oath here and could have been held responsible for a contempt of court as they were incompetent to interpret and should never have even been sworn.
Anyway, the defendant begged his defence solicitor to get those interpreters withdrawn, however, the solicitor told him that if they did, they would get no interpreter at all. The lawyer also added that as the new agency (Applied Language Solutions) was cheap, no one expected quality.
I believe we deal here with a clear example of the violation of the defendant's right to proper interpretation, and yet the solicitor raised no alarm, knowing that. I am not a solicitor, but I have been told that under their Code of Practice in any legal setting the solicitor's duty is to make it known if there is a barrier to their client’s understanding.
It’s beyond belief how one can justify using a cheap agency to the detriment of human rights of someone who for various reasons was required to attend court in a foreign country. If this is what the UK turned into in the 21st century, it’s not only sad, it’s pathetic. With the Olympic Games approaching fast, the world’s eyes will be on us, and I sincerely hope this new arrangement is stopped imminently before the officials’ faces burn red with shame and ministerial seats are shaken…