I recently wrote about the anger and protest against the privatization of court interpreters by the UK Ministry of Justice and Applied Language Solutions (ALS).
You can read it here.
As problems continues to escalate, a campaign is being launched this week to end this agreement with ALS and get the service brought back in-house by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
Now Unite, the largest union in the county, and five other professional interpreting organizations, representing 2,343 registered public service interpreters are behind this campaign and aim to help bring about the end to the entire mess.
Unite aims to reverse the outsourcing to ALS or other commercial agencies, and reintroduce direct employment of freelance interpreters by the courts and police services. They also want to establish regular dialogue between interpreter organisations and government, and persuade them to provide statutory regulation of the interpreting profession and protection of the title of Legal Interpreter.
The courts’ system is descending into chaos, as suspects are not being informed of their rights
Since the agreement between the MOJ and ALS began in February, there have been numerous complications with the system.
However, with 90 percent of registered public service interpreters (RPSIs) refusing to sign up to ALS because of their concerns about the interests of justice, pay cuts and the imposition of unfavourable terms and conditions, it has left the justice process in shambles. Not only is there a significant lack of available interpreters, and as a result, numerous costly court delays, but the ones that are being sent are oftentimes inexperienced with legal matters.
“The courts’ system is descending into chaos, as suspects are not being informed of their rights and defendants are unable to instruct their barristers. Collapsed trials and miscarriages of justice are on the cards. The cost of this outsourced shambles will, in the end, far outweigh any possible financial savings. ALS just does not have the skilled linguists to facilitate the smooth-running of the justice system.
“It is time that justice secretary Kenneth Clarke got a grip of his ‘Dad’s Army Captain Mainwaring’ department and brought the interpreting service back in-house as a matter of urgency,” states Unite national officer, Sally Kosky.