Report language access barriers in California courts

Members of the California Federation of Interpreters want to bolster equal access to justice in California by documenting language services problems in the courts.

CFI, part of Local 39521, needs your help collecting incident reports which detail instances of barriers to justice. These barriers include, but are not limited to events like the following:

  • Hearings or attorney-client interviews wherein no interpreter was provided to a limited English proficient party (defendant/witness/plaintiff/respondent).
  • Because of inadequate staffing or lack of interpreter there are delays and/or continuances to a case, or cases are dismissed because they were not able to proceed.
  • A defense attorney appears without the client present (977), although his LEP client is indeed present at the hearing, to avoid waiting for an interpreter, or because none is available.
  • An interpreter is ordered or forced to interpret for a witness, leaving the defendant/respondent/plaintiff at the counsel table.
  • A family member, bailiff, clerk, person from the audience, or otherwise unqualified person is called on to interpret for a party in a proceeding.
  • A parent is not given an interpreter in a juvenile matter.

When you come across such problems, please fill out this form, which is also available online:

By having these reports on hand, CFI can present hard facts to courts, lawmakers and other supervising agencies of the continuing language access barriers facing California courts today. These reports are gathered and archived and used in a number of ways to improve language services for limited English proficient community members in California.

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Pacific Media Workers Guild

We are the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. We represent more than 1,200 journalists and other media workers, interpreters, translators, union staffs and freelancers.