The Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (JCCD) has released the second edition of its Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals.
Since the Standards were first published in 2017, many of the recommendations and their guiding principles have been implemented in courts and tribunals across Australia. The Standards have served as a leading and integral document in the effort to maximise all people’s access to justice in Australia, no matter their cultural and linguistic background.
While the bulk of the recommendations included in the Standards remain unchanged from the first edition, this second edition includes some key revisions.
- The language of the document has been adjusted to be more inclusive of tribunals and the different needs of the tribunal process compared to that of courts.
- Specific recommendations regarding the suggested process for engaging an interpreter were amended to emphasise that in all circumstances and for all languages, the most highly certified or qualified interpreter should always be first preference.
- References to NAATI’s system of certification for interpreters and translators were updated to reflect the changes made to that system by NAATI in 2018, which incorporates into one document the 2019 Addendum to the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals.
- References to interpreters as ‘officers of the court’ were, where possible, qualified to emphasise that interpreters owe paramount duties to the court or tribunal and are independent of the party who may have hired them or the party they are interpreting for.
- Additionally, in response to significant increases in the use of audio/visual technology in court and tribunal proceedings, several changes were made to both Optimal Standard 1 – Equipment and Annexure 6 – AVL Guidelines to provide greater detail and specificity in the recommendations therein.