Wednesday, June 04, 2014

No Surprise Then

Here is a story about interpreters

Depressing, and not surprising.


  1. Anonymous John5 June 2014 at 15:39

    And another.
    "Trial of Lithuanian immigrant who stole two plastic bags worth 10p cost £3,000 after court hired Latvian translator by mistake"

  2. Can't quite reconcile the Courts Minister's statement that the contract has saved £15m in the first year and the FoI evidence that shows the cost has doubled. Someone must be wrong.

  3. Despite 95% of all criminal cases being dealt with in magistrates' courts is there a quote from a magistrate about the farce we have all had to put up with? No of course there isn't.

  4. That's all to do with missing information probably. As the ancient saying might have said had it been made - "count your fingers before you go in to see the boss, because you may not remember afterwards how many you had".

  5. Of course, given that this blog has morphed into a continual anti- Govt whatever it does.. you (whomever you are) highlighting this unspurprises. The original Bystander always took a measured approach....
    How often do you highlight the failures of the magistracy, or are they immune>?

    BTW How much is your Guardian Subscription?

    1. Now now, Anon. I've been following Bystander since about 6 months after he (or she or they or either both or neither) started up.

      It isn't about balanced and it isn't about partisan, it is about honest. And we had a bit of a hiatus over the last year or so where it got a bit inward-looking for understandable (but constitutionally questionable and arguably (ahem) state-controlling reasons, though whether that is socialist or fascist is (a) by the by and (b) not of relevance to this blog.

      Bystander, whoever he she it or they may me, is not - so far as I can tell - anti-government (neither this government nor the last), but is against subversion, delay or denial of justice; is compassionate in the face of human weakness; takes no pleasure in bad law; and takes a sensible view of the world as it is rather than as we would wish it to be.

      That is more than we could reasonably wish of a blogger, more than we have a right to expect, and we are all the better for it.

      At least I am.

    2. Well, quite.

      It is hard to be a magistrate nowadays and not be anti-government (as you note, this one or the last), seeing at first-hand as we do the results of policies drawn up by people who clearly have absolutely no understanding of what goes on in our courts in reality, even if they may have read a book or two about it.

      What we see is cuts that result in longer delays, thus ultimately greater injustices and (ironically) greater costs. What we see is proclaimed 'efficiencies' (that great synonym for budget cut) that inevitably result in mighty inefficiences. What we see is talented young professionals being driven out of the law; and a growing culture of box-ticking that has little to do with everyday justice.

      It is hard to be 'measured' whilst a flawed but fair system crumbles around us. But Bystander's blog is simply an honest depiction of what is going on now.

  6. It is a farce. Travelling abroad other countries do not provide free translation services.
    I think we spend too much. Those here generally can speak enought to get by on but choose to clam up as soon as authority is on the scene. How do they survive outside in the real world?
    Answer is they plainly understand what is going on.

  7. We were asked in court last week if we were happy to accept a translator (the only one available) who did not have the full qualification for the job. Further enquiries made clear that we were going to be charged for their services either way, so we accepted, under protest. The translator proved to be competent, but the situation we were put in is not satisfactory

  8. We are not always convinced that the defendant's language skills are so poor that a translator is really required, but when doing something like a driving ban, we'd rather ensure there is no confusion, or indeed grounds for later appeal if there is a subsequent offence.

    1. If I recall correctly, the provision of an interpreter is a specific requirement of the Human Rights Act

  9. Italian Lawyer10 June 2014 at 10:53

    ECHR, 6 . 3: Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
    (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he
    understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the
    accusation against him;
    (e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
    understand or speak the language used in court.


Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.