Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Criminal Legal Aid Manual: Guidance on Interpreter Costs

Guidance on Interpreter Costs has been published by the Legal Aid Agency in the Criminal Legal Aid Manual as of 29th March 2016:

24 Annex G: Interpreters Costs 

Pre-court work

If it has been necessary for a solicitor to incur interpreter’s costs to assist with work carried out before the first court hearing and even perhaps before charge, the Justices could order payment from central funds, applying the judgment of Lord Justice Auld in R (on the application of Hale) v North Sefton Justices [2002] EWHC 257 (Admin).

Auld defined ‘proceedings’ very broadly for the purposes of the court agreeing payment from central funds for pre-court work. The question was whether it could reasonably be said that the advice being sought/given was ‘in the proceedings’ even though a charge had not yet been preferred.

Solicitors who want to submit a claim for pre-court work should agree it with a court officer beforehand. This is current practice when claiming on central funds.

Cost of interpreters in court proceedings

Where the police or other investigating agency charge a person with an offence and detain or bail that person for a magistrates' court hearing within two working days of charge (i.e. the following day or over a weekend or Bank Holiday), the police or investigating agency will arrange the interpreter for the court hearing. It is important that so far as possible the interpreter arranged for court is not the one who interpreted at the police station either for the police or the applicant's solicitors at any stage prior to the court appearance. If however it is not possible to find another interpreter (i.e. the language is rare) then the Court and all parties must be notified of the intention to use the same interpreter for the court proceedings and agree to that course of action.

Where the court appearance is more than two working days (not including Saturdays) after the charge or summons, it is the responsibility of the court to arrange for an interpreter if an applicant requires one.

In both instances, the interpreter's costs will be paid for by the court out of central funds.

If an applicant requires an interpreter for Crown Court proceedings, the court is responsible for arranging the attendance and payment of an independent interpreter (Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.19(3)(b)). This is then paid out of central funds.

Cost of interpreters in investigation stage

If an interpreter is required when a solicitor is giving advice during the investigation stage of a case, the interpreter’s costs may be included as a disbursement when claiming for payment under the 2010 Standard Crime Contract.

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