This group was set up in 2004 in recognition of the demand by legal advice centres for interpreters to facilitate the legal advice giving process. Language barriers frequently hinder advisers and lawyers from giving useful advice, and professional interpreters are very expensive and often deemed to be a right for clients only in court hearings or official interviews.
In many law centres' advice sessions, clients often end up bringing a family member (such as a young son or daughter) or neighbour to interpret and to fill out any paperwork. This is less than ideal, as the person interpreting may not speak much more English than the client, may not understand the legal concepts involved, may have a vested interest or bias in the outcome of the interview, and may prevent lawyer-client confidentiality. Parents may also be afraid to reveal the full extent of their legal problems if their children are interpreting.
Our group's goal is to promote the preferable solution of volunteer law students who have either fluent or native ability in both English and a foreign language interpreting for such clients.
Our students explain complex legal concepts and procedures to clients in simple terms in the clients' own language at no cost to the client or law centre. In addition to the obvious benefits reaped by the clients and law centres from this work, it also provides a valuable opportunity for law students, who are not yet qualified, to play an important role in assisting those providing legal services to those in need.
We are very proud that our former student director for this project, Andrianna Yianni, won Best Contribution by an Individual Student at the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2012 for her work on it.
For more information about how to use this service email: firstname.lastname@example.org