MI Supreme Court order guarantees interpreters in legal proceedings

Michigan Public Radio Network

People who struggle to speak and understand English are guaranteed an interpreter under a rule that was adopted Wednesday by the Michigan Supreme Court. The rule will apply to all courts in the state.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young said language should not be a barrier to justice. And, he said, the wave of immigration from other countries has made the need to address that more urgent.

“We have a great deal more non-English-speaking citizens and non-citizens in our state that are involved in our legal system either the civil or criminal side of it,” Young said.

Young said advances in technology have also made interpreter services more available.

The rule said criminal defendants and witnesses will never have to pay for an interpreter. In some cases, courts could try to recover interpreter costs from parties to a lawsuit.

Copyright 2013, MPRN