The Court system in Australia is accessible to everyone. And, a language barrier should not prevent you from receiving a fair and just resolution in your family law matter. If you have difficulty speaking, writing or understanding English then you may need an interpreter in court. For either yourself or any witnesses you require. In these instances, our Family Lawyers explain what you can do.

Role of an interpreter 

The role of an interpreter is to assist the Court and will be required to act as an officer of the Court even if they are engaged directly through a party. This means that an interpreter owes a paramount duty of accuracy and impartiality as they are assisting in the Court’s upkeep of justice. This duty ultimately also overrides any other duty that the interpreter may have to a party in the proceedings.  Your interpreter must be relevantly qualified, in that they simply cannot be your friend. Typically, the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters accredits the majority of interpreters. Although some may have a degree in languages

Retaining an interpreter 

If you can afford an interpreter, you are allowed to retain one of your choosing. However, if you are unable to afford an interpreter, the Court may arrange for one for you. There is a time frame of two weeks before a Hearing in which you must inform the Court that you require an interpreter.Even if you can afford an interpreter, you still need to inform the Court. And relevant details of the interpreter and their qualifications will be required to be provided. Ultimately, however, it is within the Court’s discretion to deny your application for an interpreter should they believe you do not require one.

Other services available from the Court

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired the Court has a number of extra services available. For example, these include:  Firstly, the Court can use hearing loops at each registry where practicable.Secondly, anyone who requires real-time translation for Court Hearings can be provided with AUSLAN interpreters. Or Communication Access Real-time Translation services.Finally, the Court can provide the National Relay Service to anyone who requires a hearing relay. (When a hearing is conducted via telephone or video link).  If you are concerned about how a language barrier may impact your family law matter please contact the team at New South Lawyers. We are knowledgeable and our office speaks over ten languages.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice.. Therefore, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest that arise from this communication .

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.