Model Practice Note
1. This Practice Note commences on [………………..].
2. This Practice Note applies to all civil and criminal proceedings commenced after its commencement and to any existing proceedings which the Court/Tribunal directs should be subject to this Practice Note in whole or in part.
3. In this Practice Note:
“Code of Conduct” means the Court Interpreters’ Code of Conduct, which is Schedule 1 to the Interpreters’ Rules.
“interpret” means the process whereby spoken or signed language is conveyed from one language (the source language) to another (the target language) orally.
“Interpreters’ Rules” means the Model Rules set out in the Recommended Standards.
“Recognised Agency” means the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) and such other organisations as are approved by the Head of Jurisdiction for the purposes of the Interpreters’ Rules.
“Recommended Standards” means the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals, 2021, a copy of which may be found on the Court’s website.
4. The Court/Tribunal has resolved to implement and apply the Recommended Standards. As part of that implementation the Court/Tribunal has adopted the Interpreters’ Rules, which are the Model Rules prescribed by the Recommended Standards. The Court has also adopted this Practice Note as part of its implementation of the Recommended Standards. This Practice Note and the Interpreters’ Rules are to be read together.
Construction and application of the Interpreters’ Rules
5. The Court/Tribunal must take into account and, unless the Court/Tribunal considers it for any reason impractical or undesirable in the circumstances of the particular case, give effect to, the Recommended Standards when the Court/Tribunal is construing and applying the Interpreters’ Rules.
Assessing the need for an interpreter
6. In considering whether a person requires an interpreter parties must take into account the matters set out at Standards 8, 9 and 10 of the Recommended Standards, and in particular the tiered approach set out at Standard 11 of the Recommended Standards.
Code of conduct must be provided to an interpreter on engagement
7. Subject to paragraph 8, when a party engages an interpreter in anticipation of or in connection with proceedings commenced or to be commenced in the Court/Tribunal, that party must provide a copy of the Code of Conduct to the interpreter as soon as possible upon engaging the interpreter. The party must not continue with the engagement of the interpreter until that party has obtained from the interpreter a signed acknowledgement that the interpreter has read, understands and will abide by the Code of Conduct.
8. Paragraph 7 of this Practice Note does not apply to an interpreter in respect of whom the party intends to make an application under rule 4.2 of the Interpreters’ Rules, or if the interpreter is to be used only by a party and not to communicate with the Court/Tribunal (see rule 3.4).
Matters to be considered when an interpreter is engaged
9. When engaging an interpreter, a party must give early consideration to the matters set out in rule 7.3 of the Interpreters’ Rules and whether any directions should be sought from the Court/Tribunal having regard to those matters or otherwise in connection with the participation of an interpreter in the proceedings. Such directions must be sought at the earliest possible stage in the proceedings.
10. For the purposes of providing any time estimate to the Court/Tribunal where evidence is to be given through an interpreter using the consecutive mode, a party should generally allow 2.5 hours for every hour that would have been estimated if the evidence was being given in English without an interpreter. The use of the simultaneous mode can significantly expedite the proceedings.
11. A party engaging an interpreter to interpret in proceedings in the Court/Tribunal must inform the interpreter that they will be required by the Court/Tribunal to produce evidence of the interpreter’s current certification as an interpreter for the relevant language by a Recognised Agency, status as a Suitable Person for the relevant language, or other evidence to satisfy the Court/Tribunal that they are qualified to carry out the office of interpreter.
Conduct of proceedings
12. In addition to compliance with the Interpreters’ Rules and the other provisions of this Practice Note, each party must, to the extent it is reasonably practicable, conduct proceedings in accordance with and so as to give effect to the Recommended Standards.
13. Interpreting “accurately” for the purposes of the Interpreters’ Rules and the Code of Conduct involves skilled and sophisticated judgments on the part of the interpreter. An accurate interpretation does not equate to a literal or “word for word” translation. The Court/Tribunal recognises that, in general, the obligation to interpret accurately is not intended to compel, and will not necessarily be satisfied by, literal or “word for word” interpretation.
Fees for interpreters
14. The Court/Tribunal accepts that interpreters, in particular those who are certified by a Recognised Agency, are entitled to charge reasonable fees commensurate with their level of qualifications, and NAATI certification, skill and experience. While what fees may be reasonable can vary depending on the circumstances, as a general guide the Court/Tribunal adopts as reasonable minima the rates published from time to time by Professionals Australia for the purpose of any taxation or assessment where an interpreter has been retained by a party.
Issues concerning the availability of interpreters and implementation of the Recommended Standards
15. It is expected that the Recommended Standards will be regularly reviewed. The Court/Tribunal encourages parties to provide comments, especially where they have encountered difficulties in obtaining qualified interpreters, about the operation of the Standards to the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Head of Jurisdiction]