Michigan Courts Must Make Interpreters Available for Limited English Speakers

People with limited English skills will have an easier time in Michigan's courts after the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday setting down a uniform rule for the availability of interpreters.
September 12, 2013
 

People with limited English skills will have an easier time in Michigan's courts after the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday setting down a uniform rule for the availability of interpreters.

The order came as the state's highest court opened its new term, and requires trial courts across the state to make interpreters available for parties and witnesses in cases whenever necessary to ensure that people with limited English skills can fully participate.

The new policy allows courts to charge parties who can afford to pay for translation services for the cost of the interpreter after the case has concluded, but will not require any party to pay if they are unable. Witnesses will not be charged in any circumstances for requiring an interpreter.

There are an estimated 320,000 Michigan residents with limited English skills based on census data, the supreme court's information office said in a news release on the order.

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