InterpretersThe ACT Courts and Tribunal is committed to the principle of ‘access to justice’ ensuring that all court and tribunal users have access to the courts and tribunal. Interpreter assistance is available on a case by case basis, based upon need. Please note that a number of the interpreter services mentioned below are administered by other organisations.
Interpreter assistance will be made available free of charge when dealing with the enquiry counter or a registry unit of the ACT Courts and Tribunal. If you are telephoning, please contact the National Interpreting Service (TIS) on telephone 131 450.
Interpreter assistance with court and tribunal hearings and conferences
- Tribunal Matters
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will arrange an interpreter where required. Please contact the ACAT Registry on (02) 6207 1740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Criminal Matters
Interpreters may be arranged by either ACT Policing or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for witnesses and defendants involved in criminal hearings at the ACT Courts. For ACT Supreme Court matters please contact the DPP on (02) 6207 5399 and for ACT Magistrates Court matters please contact the AFP case officer for the matter by calling 131 444.
- Family Violence Protection Orders
A court interpreter may be arranged by the Court in accordance with the ACT Government’s Safer Families: Translating and Interpreting Service. Please contact the protection unit on (02) 6205 4939 or email email@example.com.
- Care and Protection applications in the Children’s Court
Please contact the caseworker in Community Services Directorate (CSD) responsible for the matter to discuss your specific circumstances.
- Coronial Matters
Interpreters may be arranged for witnesses called to give evidence at a hearing. Please contact the Coroners Unit on (02) 6207 1754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Civil, Appeal and Other Non-criminal Matters
Parties are required to organise interpreters at their own cost, including for any witnesses that require an interpreter.
It is important that persons requiring interpreter assistance make contact with their legal representative or the contact listed above as early as possible to discuss their needs.
Interpreters play a very important role in court and tribunal hearings, assisting to provide fair and equitable access to justice for those who do not speak English or have hearing or other language difficulties.
The ACT Courts and Tribunal has developed a Protocol to guide the use of interpreters in court and tribunal proceedings.
Use of family and friends to interpret on your behalf
The Courts and ACAT appreciate that sometimes relatives or acquaintances are called upon to interpret because they speak or sign the same language. However, they may be unfamiliar with the terminology used or legal concepts involved. Furthermore, family and friends are not bound by a professional code that requires them to be impartial and to maintain confidentiality. Interpreting requires a high level of fluency in both English and the language being interpreted, and the ability to be able to quickly, accurately and appropriately convey the whole message from another language into English. On this basis, the ACT Courts and Tribunal will rely upon professional interpreters to assist in court and tribunal proceedings.