Court gives my contact details to solicitors to book direct
On June 6th at about 17:20 I was contacted by a lady from a firm of solicitors, asking me to attend Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday, 7th June, with a possibility for attendance also on Friday, and to act as an interpreter for a listed hearing. Initially I assumed that I was being instructed by a firm of solicitors; but in order to be 100 percent sure I asked the caller whether I was expected to work for the court or solicitors. The response was crystal clear: it was an interpreting assignment for Blackfriars Crown Court.
At this point I mentioned it to the caller that, if this was a court interpreting assignment, why Blackfriars Crown Court did not get in touch with ALS as its sole interpreting service provider. The response was “We (Solicitors) have been given your details by Blackfriars Crown Court to book you as a Farsi Interpreter for tomorrow's hearing!”
I have to confirm that this has never happened to me before with the exception of Wood Green Crown Court, where interpreters are booked by the defendants’ solicitors and at the end of the hearing they submit their invoices to the Listings Office and subsequently get paid by the court.
I then told the caller that if I was expected to work for the court as a result of another ALS failure to provide an interpreter, I was not going to fill such a gap. Furthermore, as a qualified and experienced interpreter I've been boycotting ALS for its low quality and unacceptable work conditions since the beginning of the new regime and I will continue to do so! - I added. At this stage the caller thanked me, and I think she continued her search for another interpreter for the following day.
In summary, instead of approaching ALS to provide interpreting services required for the case at short notice, Blackfriars Crown Court Listing Office had provided the defendant’s solicitor with my details and made them search for a Farsi interpreter.
I hope my other colleagues, who were possibly approached by the same solicitors that day and asked to fill the gap for ALS, also refused such a request. But the question remains: is this new tactics resorted to by courts in the country?