Translation costs in care cases ‘depend on circumstances’
The case of Z (A Child) concerned Polish parents, who live in an eastern European country and cannot speak English. In order to allow them to participate in care proceedings concerning their daughter, 13 year-old ‘D’, a considerable quantity of court documents required translation, at a total cost of £14,120.
At an earlier hearing, His Honour Judge Simon Oliver had ruled that these costs should be paid by the side which had relied on the original documents in their case: this case the local authority.
The local authority in question, Reading Borough Council, later became aware that another judge, Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts, had reached a difterent conclusion regarding responsibility for translation costs: that the party in the case which requires the translations should pay. The authority threfore applied to change Judge Oliver’s ruling. He dismissed their application but did allow the authority to pusue the ability
At the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Macur explained that the circumstances of each case was the crucial factor.
“To deal with an issue of translation costs devoid of context does not connote a reasonable exercise of judicial discretion. Whilst the promulgation of a court’s usual practice on the question creates certainty and may save some court time it could also lead to unfair demands upon either public (local authority and legal aid) or private financial resources.”
Read the ruling here.