MoJ warned two years ago over interpreters
Ministry of Justice officials were warned two years ago that a central contract for courtroom interpreter services would lead to wrongful detentions, the Gazette has learned. Emails from a body representing interpreters also warned in 2010 that members would boycott the scheme.
The MoJ and its contractor Applied Language Solutions (ALS) have faced a barrage of criticism since the new hub arrangement began on 1 February, with reports of trials and immigration hearings postponed because no one was available to interpret.
The government this week told parliament it was unaware of any problems with the service until 14 February - five days after the Gazette first reported serious flaws. The MoJ now says it expects immediate improvements, after admitting early problems were ‘unacceptable’. ALS said it is investigating complaints and that performance is already getting better.
In a dossier sent to the MoJ in 2010, Zuzana Windle, then-director of the Professional Interpreters’ Alliance, said attempts to contract regional police work to an agency were having a detrimental effect on people from ethnic minorities.