England’s privatization of court interpretation an advisory for Canada

Posted on: May 20th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

England’s controversial decision to privatize all of its court interpretation services — which failed to work well — is a cautionary tale for Canada, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“I think what Canada has in place now is working reasonably well,” she tells the online legal publication. “There is government oversight and that’s a good thing because it is a constitutional right to get court interpretation services. I don’t think government should contract out a service like that to private firms at all.”

Deliscar explains that in Canada the government employs staff interpreters but also relies on private freelance court interpreters who are hired as needed.

In England and Wales, more than 2,600 court cases were adjourned over the last five years because of problems with interpreting services, reports The Guardian. The figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in England as doubts emerged about the viability of the contract for interpreting services after outsourcing firm Capita declined to bid for the renewal of the contract in October 2015, says the newspaper.

Among the problems was the rescheduling of a war crimes trial, which collapsed last year because of problems with the quality of interpreting offered to the defendant, a Nepalese army officer, says the article.

“In the magistrates courts, 2,524 trials have had to be adjourned because of the lack of an interpreter over the past five years. In the Crown court, where costs are far greater, 137 trials have had to be adjourned because of interpreter difficulties. The cumulative expense of the adjournments was not recorded,” it says.

Read more here: http://www.advocatedaily.com/suzanne-deliscar-u-k–privatization-of-court-interpretation-an-advisory-for-canada.html

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