Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Updates of Legal Affairs…

Cost of interpretation in the legal system £60m a year

November 2nd, 2011

The data of costs for interpreters for foreigners at Crown Courts has been revealed under freedom of information laws for the last six years. It is a whopping £25 million. The Ministry of Justice in a year spends around £60m on interpreters covering the whole legal system.

It was found that one in seven people involved in the last summers riots was a foreigner.

The languages which is most sought or requested for are Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian in the crown courts followed by Russian, Urdu, Kurdish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi and Czech.

The Ministry of Justice is trying to tighten the strings by outsourcing the job of interpreting to a Manchester firm Applied Language Solutions (ALS) for the next five years. This move is going to save the government more than £18m a year.

Though Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has approved the move many professional interpreters have raised concern of the quality of services the firm provides and have boycotted the firm.

A police station representative Rob Taberner who uses the services of ALS told the Law Society Gazette earlier that people with no proper skills were sent to the police station for the job. That they were not able to do their job correctly was unable to grasp simple legal terms which were basic requirement for translation.

The interpreters are paid at the rate of £85 for first three hours and £7.50 for every 15 minutes thereafter.

The Taxpayer Alliance told the Sun Newspaper that translators for some cases were inevitable but for those who are staying inBritainat least they should learn English. It’s a burden on the taxpayers the spokesperson for the Alliance said.

The ministry of justice spokesperson said that interpretation costs will be curtailed by £18 million a year without compromising on the quality of services and the Taxpayers money will be well spent he added.