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Language Rights in the Court

Language Rights in the Court

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Language Rights in the Court

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  1. Language Rights in the Court Katherine Ashman, Kate Barradell, Holly Chandler and Daisy Wooller

  2. All persons in court are entitled to: • Be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him • Have free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court

  3. The Interpreter • Language mediator • Compared to “nothing short of a machine” • Must be unbiased • Judge obliged to ensure interpreter acts correctly

  4. The Translator • Different skills to an interpreter • Applies to written documents

  5. The plea is uninformed if the defendant has not fully understood the nature of the case to which he is pleading.

  6. Hearing or Speech Impairments • Hard of hearing or speech impaired are entitled to a qualified sign language interpreter or lip speaker • The court should appoint these aids and cover any costs

  7. Issues with Language Rights in the US • 32 million people in the US whose primary language is not English • Many court-ordered rehabilitation programmes are unable to accommodate non-English speakers • Several cases where unqualified interpreters are used

  8. Issues in North Carolina • Interpreters not provided for first appearances • Confusion over who benefits from an interpreter • Interpreters not provided in small claims court • Often reliant on volunteer interpreters • Lack of interpreters leads to delays

  9. Language Rights for Children • Since June 2011, additional support is given automatically • Age, level of maturity, intellectual ability and emotional state should be taken into consideration • Environment should be modified where possible

  10. In order to participate effectively in a trial, a child needs to comprehend the charges and possible consequences and penalties.

  11. Case Study 1 • 11 year old boy accused of stealing in the UK • Found to have a significant learning disability • Social worker support • Frequent breaks • However, did not fully understand the court process and expected to return home after the trial

  12. Case Study 2 • Boy with ADHD, originally not given extra support • However, a psychiatrist argued that this would enable a fair trial • Earlier decision reassessed

  13. Finish