Justice CommitteeWritten evidence from Dr Christopher Stone


2010 analysis project procurement SRG/09/060.

English as an additional language and BSL users as research participants.

Potential for a fine grained understanding of interpreting provision.

Cancellation of project impeding appropriate metrics for interpreter quality.

Evidence addressing: 6. The appropriateness of arrangements for monitoring the management of the contract, including the quality and cost-effectiveness of the service delivered.


1. In 2010 the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) wished to explore the use of interpreting in courts and tribunals across England and Wales and was actively involved in procuring analysis of the provision of interpreting services within England and Wales for victims and vulnerable witnesses. This project was titled, “The use of interpreters in the court system in England and Wales (SRG/09/060)” and was to be guided by a steering group convened by the MoJ.

2. The MoJ wanted to commission research among two groups: adults with English as an additional language (EAL users) and Deaf adults who use British Sign Language (BSL users). The project was to look at the extent of interpreting in the judicial system, as well as experiences from a broad set of perspectives. An important aspect of the project was to be reviewing issues of quality and appropriate assessment criteria with a variety of detailed reports are envisaged at the end of the study.

3. The use of interpreters in the judicial system is accepted in the UK as an issue of integrity and forms part of the Witness Charter. However, whilst it is understood that competent interpreting is crucial to the administration of justice little is known about how often it is used, particularly in family courts and tribunals, and how it is rated in terms of quality. In addition, the process of identifying and engaging interpreters in the courts could be better understood to explore whether interpreters themselves feel that their work could be better supported.

4. The project (SRG/09/060) would have provided crucial evidence to inform practice, enabling better monitoring of interpreting quality. With the cancellation of this project (see below Email received cancelling project SRG/09/060) a crucial opportunity was missed in ensuring that any management contract put in place could be sufficiently scrutinised.

Email Received Cancelling Project SRG/09/060

-----Original Message-----

From: Tiwari Anjali

Sent: 26 March 2010 12:38 PM



Subject: RE: The use of interpreters in the court system in England and Wales (SRG/09/060)

Dear Vanessa,

I am sorry to inform you that this project has now been put on hold and decision will be made after the election. Please see the message below form Tina Goulton:

Message from Tina Golton, Head of CAJAS Research Team:

“As a result of the budget on Wednesday, MOJ has been asked to make additional savings. This project remains a high priority for us, but we are reviewing all uncommissioned analytical projects to ensure that we are confident that they represent value for money. In light of this, we are unable to be able to commission this project before the election. I would like to thank you for all the work you have put into this project. If we take this work forward in the near future, then you will be our preferred contractor. I would like to apologise for all the inconvenience that this has caused. If you wish to discuss this decision, I am around today (Friday) and Monday next week (on 020 3334 3061). I am unavailable then until 6th April. In my absence, please feel free to call the Head of CAJAS, Osama Rahman, if you wish to discuss this decision (Tel: 020 3334 3096).”

I would like to thank you and all the members of the consortium for all the time and effort they have put into preparing the tender documents and attending the meeting in London. I will be in touch when I have any further information regarding this project from the Ministry of Justice.

August 2012

Prepared 5th February 2013