In this article, national legal aid trainer, Kenny Shealey highlights 3 key facts and 5 exceptional circumstances relating to changes from 1st September 2018 to the payment of interpreter fees for qualified or non-qualified interpreters under the new Standard Civil Contract 2018
1. NEW RULES FOR EACH INSTRUCTED INTERPRETER
Under paras 2.47-2.51 of the new Contract Specification, providers must now use interpreters with qualifications listed in para 2.48 and under para 2.49 and a note must be placed on each client’s case file confirming that the interpreter of the agency through which they are supplied holds such a qualification, and which qualification it is.
2.NEW RULES FOR NON-QUALIFIED INTERPRETERS
A non-qualified interpreter can be used in exceptional circumstances and a non-exhaustive list of exceptional circumstances is listed under para 2.50.
3. CONTENT OF FILE NOTE SUPPORTING INSTRUCTION
A file note must be prepared setting out the exceptional circumstances which exist and a clear explanation as to why it was necessary and appropriate in the circumstances for an alternative non-qualified interpreter to be selected.
Highlighted below are 5 example exceptional circumstances – as listed under para 2.50:
(a) Where it would cause undue delay and/or increased costs (above the prescribed rates);
(b) Where the client requests an interpreter of a specific gender and such request cannot reasonably be accommodated otherwise than by the use of a non-qualified interpreter (e.g. where the client has been a victim of domestic violence);
(c) Where there is a rare language or dialect which cannot reasonably be accommodated otherwise than by the use of a non-qualified interpreter;
(d) Where there is an emergency requirement which cannot reasonably be accommodated otherwise than by the use of a non-qualified interpreter;
(e) Where you have contacted three interpreters who meet the qualification requirements specified in Paragraph 2.48 above and none are willing or available as required
This is a non-exhaustive list.
Kenny will be speaking at a brand new workshop on legal aid at the LAPG Annual Conference in London on 5th October. Follow this link to find out more and book your place. We hope to see you there!
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