Applied Language Solutions (ALS), the gaffe-prone interpreting service awarded the exclusive right to supply interpreters to courts in England and Wales, faces two high-profile hearings in the next ten days in which its £300m five-year contract with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will come under scrutiny.
At the first one, to be held at 3.15pm today in front of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, the Capita-owned company – which has recently been re-branded as Capita Translation and Interpreting – will be asked to explain "shocking failings", including apparently inviting a rabbit and a cat for "interpreter assessments" and offering a dead dog an "immediate assignment in court".
Lawyers aren’t always that funny. Remember the "iPad oxygen" quip made by Stephen Miller QC at an inquest for a man who’d died in hospital after equipment failures?
But I’m happy to report that yesterday Miller’s fellow barrister Andrew Dallas proved some members of the legal profession have a decent sense of humour.
After Karel Novotny, who speaks no English, had his hearing at Bradford Crown Court adjourned for a second time earlier this week because, once again, no interpreter had turned up, Dallas asked:
“Is it quicker if I learned Czech?”
After the laughter subsided, Judge Durham Hall said a wasted costs order would be made against Applied Language Solutions subject to any further representations from them.
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