July 2006

1This policy replaces the policy dated September 1998,November 2002 and was updated on 1 July 2006.

2The policy has been developed in line with the objectives and strategies of the Federal and State governments in relation to the provision of language services through Access and Equity Policies.

3The Court will meet the cost of interpreter services for persons having a need to use the services of the Court or having business before the Court, on a demand basis. In this regard, subject to any direction by the Judicial Officer, the Court will pay the costs of interpreter services for a person with limited English fluency or hearing impairment for the following purposes: -

(a)to interpret proceedings in Court

(b)during a Conciliation or Pre-hearing Conference
(c)during a Case Assessment Conference
(d)during an attendance with a Family Consultant
(e)during Information Sessions conducted by the Court

(f)when obtaining information (either by telephone or in person) from Court staff relating to the practice or procedures of the Court or related information concerning the functions or operation of the Court.

The Judicial Officer or Court Officer dealing with a matter shall retain a discretion to determine if an interpreter is to be used and whether the interpreter is acceptable. For undefended divorce proceedings the assistance of a friend to act as interpreter is encouraged and will be sufficient for those proceedings. Individual interpreters will not be required where persons having business with the Court are of the same language or are hearing impaired. However, the relevant Judicial Officer or Court Officer may determine that individual interpreters are required in particular circumstances e.g. to ensure continuity of proceedings in lengthy assignments.

4The Court will only meet the cost of interpreter services where the interpreter is made available through an accredited agency (e.g. On-Call Interpreting, Australian Federation of Deaf Societies etc). No payment will be made to family members, friends, etc who may act as an interpreter.

Where a witness from outside Australia provides evidence to the Court via a telephone or video link, the Court will not authorise the costs of any related interpreter services unless the services are provided in Australia.

In respect to non-NAATI accredited indigenous interpreters, payment may be made at the discretion of the Court.

5The Court will not, except in exceptional circumstances authorised by a Judicial Officer, meet the cost of translating documents or other written material either for lodgement with the Court or originating from the Court. Neither will the Court accept responsibility for the cost of interpreter services related to instructing lawyers.

6When a Judicial Officer, Registrar or Family Consultant at his/her discretion directs that the services of an interpreter be obtained, the support staff of the Court Officer concerned will make the necessary arrangements with the Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual) (Ext 8349), who will make the booking. Other Court staff may also identify a need to use the services of an interpreter when dealing with an inquiry. They should discuss the matter with their Manager to determine an appropriate course of action in each such case.

7Except in the circumstances outlined in 6 above, the person having business at the Court, or their legal representative, will be responsible for arranging the provision of interpreter services through the Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual) (Telephone 9224 8349). Unless there are exceptional circumstances all such requests are to be made in writing and posted, hand delivered or faxed (9224 8394) to the Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual).

8The Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual) will ensure that requests for spoken language interpreters and request for sign language interpreters for persons who are hearing impaired are directed to the appropriate agencies.

9When contact is made with an accredited interpreter service the name(s) of the party(s), the Court file number (if known) and the language required should be advised, together with any other relevant details such as hearing dates and time, etc, if applicable.

10Interpreters who attend the Court require verification of their attendance to be given on a voucher, which they should present for signature at the Court before they lodge it with the accredited agency to receive payment for their services. These vouchers will be signed by Associates, Personal Secretaries or Court Officers where a Court attendance is involved and by the staff member directly involved with the matter requiring the services of the interpreter (egFamily Consultant) in other instance. The court staff member should forward the duplicate of the signed voucher to the Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual) for the completion of booking details before forwarding to the Resource and Administration Officer in Business Services (Ext8351).

When using the telephone conference option the Court staff member making contact with the interpreter service is to complete the form titled “Request for Interpreter Service” and forward it immediately to the Caseflow Officer (Audio/Visual).

1 July 2006