Judge, Barrister and ALS Contractor speak of ALS/Capita
I went to a Crown Court yesterday morning, booked by solicitors. There were two co-accused, only one of whom spoke English. After the consultation they went in and I stayed outside the courtroom. A minute later my client’s solicitor came out and asked me if I would mind interpreting as there was no ALS interpreter present. I politely explained that the courts chose to use only ALS contractors and I am NOT registered with them and have no intention of doing so. I said that because of ALS/Capita I am out of work, therefore I have no intention of helping them out by stepping in when they fail to provide an interpreter.
The solicitor went back in to pass the message. When they all came out, I approached the barrister and the solicitor for my client and tried to apologise for refusing to help them and to explain again my reasons. The moment I said "I'm sorry" the barrister stopped me and said he was fully aware of the situation, there was no need to apologise and that the current situation is "a joke". What’s more, the judge told them to tell me that he was "very sympathetic" towards our cause and fully understands my decision!
We were then told that an interpreter would be there in 5 minutes. 15 minutes later, AT 12 O'CLOCK, a lady turns up. The judge asks her: "Madam Interpreter, did you experience some difficulties getting here today?" To which she replies that ALS only called her at 10.30 am that morning - even though the court booked one for 10 am! The judge did not look happy at all and told the legal advisor to look into it.
I also talked to the ALS interpreter when she finished. She was not happy because she didn’t feel appreciated. She has to chase them for months to get paid and argue with them each time to be reimbursed for train fares. She's never spoken to the same ALS employee twice, it's a total chaos. At the end she said: "I hope it all collapses soon" – there we go, straight from the mouth of an ALS interpreter.