Recently, the AOC and the National Center for State Courts hosted an Interpreters Issues Summit to discuss and make recommendations for the best ways to provide spoken language interpreter services for court hearings in all civil and criminal cases in the general sessions and trial courts in the most economic and efficient manner.
Of particular interest was the additional $2 million included in the 2012-2013 budget which gives a rare and new opportunity for the courts to modify how language access services are delivered in order to provide persons with more meaningful access to court hearings. It will enable judges to better communicate with parties and enable Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons to more fully participate in court proceedings and understand what is expected of them.
Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark opened the summit noting the importance of interpretive services to the judicial system and thanking the Governor and Legislature for recognizing it.
“I am proud of Governor Haslam, and proud of our legislature, for taking this important step to insure that justice for all really is available for all persons in Tennessee,” Clark said. “That is what our Founding Fathers intended, and that is what we must continue to aim for.”
Attendees included judges, interpreters, court clerks, court administrators, attorneys and law enforcement personnel.