9 November 2012
Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) pursuant to the answer of 22 October 2012, Official Report, column 681W, on courts: interpreters, whether the figure for complaints includes those requests which were not completed by Advanced Language Solutions due to an interpreter not being available to attend the court or other venue at the required time;
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of disruption of court functions due to unfilled bookings.
Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald, Conservative)
The published statistics relate to completed requests between 30 January and 31 August 2012, and include requests where ALS was not able to send an interpreter or where an interpreter did not attend. The complaints figures relate to completed requests, where a complaint was recorded. Not every instance of a failure to supply to an interpreter results in a complaint, and this is reflected in the published statistics.
The estimated cost for all agencies of an ineffective trial in the magistrates court is around £650 and the Crown court is £1,500 for all agencies. Comparing the number of ineffective trials in the criminal courts due to the availability of an interpreter the first quarter of 2011 to the same period in 2012, the additional costs have been estimated to be approximately £60,000. It is not possible to quantify costs for the disruption of non-trial hearings (e.g. case management hearings) due to interpreter availability.