Interpreter problems ‘unacceptable’ says ministry
The Ministry of Justice has criticised the ‘unacceptable’ number of problems in the first weeks of a controversial new contract to run court interpreting services.
It has emerged this week that a trial hearing at Leeds Crown Court had to be called off because no one was available to translate for the Czech defendant. The aborted trial is set to cost the court service thousands of pounds in legal fees and other costs.
It is one of a litany of cases highlighted by professional interpreters since the MoJ’s exclusive contract with Applied Language Solutions (ALS) began on 1 February.
The government has already allowed courts and tribunals to appoint their own interpreters rather than going through ALS’s hub. It has today made its first public censure of its own contractor.
An MoJ spokesman said: ‘There have been an unacceptable number of problems in the first weeks of full implementation of the contract and we have asked the contractor to take urgent steps to improve performance.