Court interpreters

Interpreters in Criminal Investigations and Proceedings

Capita Translation Services supply interpreter services to courts and tribunals in England and Wales.

When booking interpreters you should follow the National Agreement for use of interpreters.

Interpreters in Civil and Family Proceedings

Deaf and Hearing impaired Litigants

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service will meet the reasonable costs of interpreters for deaf and hearing-impaired litigants for hearings in civil and family proceedings. If an interpreter is needed, the court will make arrangements for an interpreter to attend.

Many people have a friend or relative who usually interpret for them. If you want a friend or relative to interpret for you, you will need to ask for permission from the judge. The judge must be satisfied that the friend or relative can exactly interpret what is being said to the court and what the court is saying to you.

Unless the relative or friend has a recognised qualification in relaying information between deaf and hearing people, it may be better to use a qualified interpreter. The friend or relative may still be able to attend and provide support, but permission should be sought from the judge first.

Foreign language interpreters

Court staff will also arrange for language interpreters needed for civil and family hearings in certain circumstances where cases involve:

  • Committal cases

    Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service has a legal obligation under the Human Rights Act to provide language interpreters. They will ensure that anyone attending a committal case, has the free assistance of an interpreter if he/she cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

  • Domestic Violence and cases involving Children

Because of the sensitivity of these cases, we will provide an interpreter if required. This is irrespective of whether solicitors are involved or public funding is available.

  • Forced Marriage Act cases

  • Possessions 
  • Non-committal cases

    We will provide an interpreter if that is the only way that a litigant can take part in a hearing. The relevant circumstances are:

    Where you:

    1. Cannot speak or understand the language of the court well enough to take part in the hearing 
    2. Cannot get public funding
    3. Cannot afford to privately fund an interpreter, and has no family member, or friend, who can attend to interpret for them and who is acceptable to the court.
    4. Or where the Judge directs that an interpreter must be booked as the case cannot proceed without HMCTS funding one. 

If the case is privately funded you must  supply your own interpreters. 

Welsh Language Interpreters

The Welsh Language Act 1993 provides the right for any party to speak Welsh in legal proceedings in Wales (criminal, civil and tribunals hearings). As soon as it is known that the Welsh language is to be used at a hearing, the court should provide the details to the HMCTS’ Welsh Language Unit, who will arrange a Welsh interpreter from the list of those who have successfully sat examinations in simultaneous interpretation.

We are responsible for paying the interpreter's fees.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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