Courts: Translation Services

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the (a) number of court cases rescheduled due to problems with interpreting or translating services and (b) additional cost incurred from that rescheduling in each of the last three years.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry does not hold central data for all jurisdictions and hearing types in which interpreters are used and to manually review each case would incur disproportionate costs. However, central information does exist on the number of trials listed in the criminal courts which were adjourned as a result of interpreters being unavailable. This data is published in Criminal Court Statistics.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/criminal-court-statistics

A table detailing such occurrences over the last three years for which data is available is copied below.

Crown Courts

Magistrates’ Courts

Year

Number of trials

Adjourned due to interpreter availability

% of trials adjourned due to interpreter availability

Number of trials

Adjourned due to interpreter availability

% of trials adjourned due to interpreter availability

2016

37,339

30

0.1%

149,423

495

0.3%

2017

34,579

29

0.1%

136,962

423

0.3%

2018

29,583

17

0.1%

123,023

495

0.4%

As the associated costs for HMCTS of rescheduling trial cases will vary, depending on whether other work was able to be heard in that courtroom, this information is not held centrally.

The department continues to monitor its language service contracts closely and work with the suppliers to drive improvements and reduce the cost on the taxpayer. The Language Service contract has achieved a fulfilment rate of 97% over the first quarter of 2019.

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