Clients seeking linguistic assistance can now feel thankful as the recoverability of interpretation and translation fees has significantly improved in recent times. This positive development removes a previously looming obstacle, making cases more encouraging and satisfying for our valued clients now that translation fees are now recoverable.
At Translate Hive, we have also felt that it also presents as a potential barrier for solicitors taking on foreign speaking clients, or indeed clients wanting to proceed with a claim.
For both the solicitor, Translate Hive and for our team of linguists, all the hard work, planning and efforts put into completing an assignment to be told that the costs are non-recoverable is quite frustrating. How else can a claim move forward if the client does not understand what’s going on as English is not their first language?
Our translators are passionate about providing a top tier service and with the most recent ruling on recoverability of fees, we are even more empowered and committed to providing this service.
We are delighted at the recent positive decision in the Santiago V Motor Insurance Bureau appeal from The Lord Justice Stuart-Smith: “Interpreters’ fees are now recoverable in the fixed costs regime.”
The Lord Justice Stuart-Smith has upheld that interpreters’ fees are recoverable under the fixed costs regime, which is fantastic news to Translate Hive and to solicitors & barristers using our interpretation and translation services. Assistance to understand proceedings and provide evidence is now fully available to those that need it, with no penalisation in the recovered costs.
The appeal showed that the “one size fits all” fixed cost analogy, when it came to the possibility of a litigant requiring the assistance of an interpreter or a translation, was quite simply, inadequate. This overview of fixed costs for foreign speaking parties prevented vulnerable parties or witnesses to be able to fully participate in the proceedings.
For a client to fully understand all the proceedings, they need to be able to read and verbally understand the same. The assumption that the costs involved to interpret and translate these proceedings for a foreign speaking client should not be recoverable, only set to penalise the client and their compensation. To refuse the interpretation and translation services would only hinder their rightful access to justice.
During the appeal, it was noted that by CPR 1.2(b), prior to its amendment:
“rule 1.1(a) and (d) set the objective that each of the parties involved in a claim are on an equal footing and that the parties can participate fully in proceedings and that the parties and witnesses can give their best evidence.”
The above led to the most obvious and crucial of questions; how can there be an equal footing or best evidence given for a foreign speaking party when they are unable to communicate or understand without the assistance of translations and interpreters properly and fully?
The rebuttal by The Lord Justice Stuart-Smith quite rightly stated: “I reject the MIB’s submission that the question of interpreter’s fees does not involve a question of access to justice. Since the fees of an independent interpreter are not remunerated as part of the fixed fees for the provision of legal services, they are an additional expense that will fall upon the vulnerable party or their solicitor.”
To have access to justice, it was ruled that: “…that an interpreter is essential if a person or witness who does not speak adequate English is to participate fully in proceedings or give their best evidence.”