30 Apr 2012
Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate his Department has made of the number of unregistered interpreters illegally working in Crown and magistrates' courts in the last five years; and what assessment his Department has made of the possibility of a miscarriage of justice in each case which such an interpreter provided interpretation for.
Jonathan Djanogly (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid), Justice; Huntingdon, Conservative)
Information about unregistered interpreters working in Crown and magistrates courts since 2007 is not held centrally and this information was either not collected or is not readily accessible across the courts to enable collection.
Prior to January 2012, the Crown and magistrates courts predominantly sourced interpreters from the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI). NRPSI took responsibility for the status of interpreters on their register but did not take responsibility for ensuring that the correct, qualified interpreter was assigned.
Under the current Ministry of Justice agreement relating to language services, the contractor must ensure the continuous training and development of interpreters and all interpreters are required to abide by a comprehensive code of conduct which emphasises that they should only undertake assignments for which they are competent.
The contractor must ensure that all interpreters/translators can verify their identity and credentials for every assignment. The contractor has a formal investigation process for dealing with reported issues with an interpreter. If the quality of any linguist is in question, the contractor will carry out the quality checks as highlighted in the investigation. Following this investigation the contractor will either change the qualification status of the linguist while they carry out or recommend additional training or will discontinue their engagement and strike them off the register.