TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: December 30, 2014
RE: Rule 50, N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R., Court Interpreter Qualifications and Procedures; Rule 43, N.D.R.Civ.P, Evidence; Rule 28, N.D.R.Crim.P., Interpreters
As discussed at the September 2014 meeting, the state court administrator has been working under the direction of the Supreme Court to implement the March 31, 2014, amendments to Rule 43 and Rule 28. A particular concern of the Court is payment for interpreter services, and it was proposed that additional language be added to Admin. Rule 50 to provide details about payment for interpreters and that consistent amendments also be made to Rule 43 and Rule 28.
During the committee's discussion of the rule proposals in September, many issues related to payment of interpreters were discussed. Some members took the position that courtroom interpreter services should be provided by the court system in criminal and civil cases, without any reimbursement for these services by parties or other court participants. Material provided by Prof. Jackson in support of this position is attached. Others took the position that, in civil cases, interpreters had traditionally been paid by the parties and this should continue. One area of consensus was that witnesses should not have to pay for interpreter services and that if any reimbursement is to be sought for witness interpreters, it should be sought from the parties. Staff was instructed to make changes to the proposed language that would ensure that in civil cases, any non-English speaking party or court participant who may not have access to financial resources would be able to obtain an interpreter and have access to the court without having to reimburse payment for interpreter services.
Staff has prepared proposed amendments, which are attached. The proposed amendments to Admin. Rule 50 would limit any reimbursement for courtroom interpreter services to parties in civil cases with the ability to pay the administrator's proposed amendments already require the appointment of an interpreter when necessary. The proposed amendments to the text of Rules 43 and 28 have been removed and the explanatory notes revised to warn of the possibility of reimbursement in civil cases, but to point to Admin. Rule 50 for details.