Controversy over court interpreters contract
I live and work as a criminal defence lawyer in Boston, Lincolnshire, a fairly small market town, some 125 miles north of London.
A town that has seen dramatic changes in the last 10 years: in 2001, the population was around 35,000 and it’s now around the 45,000. The massive increase is almost exclusively down to the influx of migrant workers that have come here from other EU countries to work on the land or in the many food factories that provide most of the work here.
Today, some 20%-25% of our client base is non-English speaking and pretty much every court sitting has at least three interpreters. Over the years, we have got to know and, much more importantly, trust the interpreters we come across every day. They play a vital role in the proper administration of justice – not just for the defence but for police and prosecution also. Many victims of crime, and many witnesses, do not have a sufficient grasp of English to make a complaint or give a full account of what they have seen.