5 December 2014
Ministry of Justice
Nick de Bois (Enfield North, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department has issued to courts on their obligation to provide interpreter services.
Shailesh Vara (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice; North West Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
Guidance is available to all court staff which clearly outlines the circumstances under which the Department is obliged to provide interpreter services. The EU Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings Directive require the criminal courts to take every reasonable step to identify whether a defendant needs interpretation.
The interpreting contract was introduced to tackle the inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the previous system. The contract has delivered significant improvements so far and we now have a system that is robust, sustainable and able to deliver a quality service at an affordable level. As a result of the contract, we have spent £27m less in the first two years it has been running, and it continues to reduce the burden on taxpayers.