The Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity has released the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals following on from the submission process last year.
The document includes Model Rules and a Model Practice Note that will encourage courts and tribunals to give effect to the proposed standards. The Recommended National Standards are also accompanied by Annotations which offer practical explanations that are intended to assist in improving the effective utilisation of interpreters in court and tribunal settings.
Notably included in the document are references to Professionals Australia:
Fees for interpreters
14. The Court accepts that interpreters, in particular those who are accredited by a Recognised Agency, are entitled to charge reasonable fees commensurate with their level of qualifications, skill and experience. While what fees may be reasonable can vary depending on the circumstances, as a general guide the Court adopts as reasonable minima the rates published from time to time by Professionals Australia for the purpose of any taxation or assessment where an interpreter has been retained by a party .
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Support for Interpreters
9.2 Interpreters should be remunerated by reference to a scale of fees which reflect their level of qualifications, skill and experience. Interpreters should also be remunerated for preparation time, travelling time, travel and accommodation costs where relevant, and for the time contracted — regardless of whether the matter finishes earlier.
Remuneration of interpreters is sometimes controlled by regulations, but is otherwise determined by the contractual terms of the interpreter’s engagement. In some jurisdictions, governments have entered into multi–year agreements with interpreting service companies, including fee rates. Where interpreters can only be engaged through an interpreter service, the individual fees may be subject to control by that service, which may or may not be reviewable by an industrial tribunal.
Courts should agree a scale of fees for interpreter costs and provide appropriate remuneration to the interpreter commensurate with their level of qualifications, skill and experience. The rates should reflect a fair reward for the time and skill of the interpreter concerned. Where the fee is payable to an interpreter service, the rates should reflect the fact that the service will be entitled to charge for its overheads in engaging the interpreter. Professionals Australia has developed a scale of minimum fees to give a benchmark of costs to assist parties in budgeting and negotiating rates of pay for interpreters. It is available at www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/translators–interpreters/recommended–rates/.