Michigan Courts seek to remove language barriers for non-English speaking persons, according to 2 new court rules and 1 administrative order that went into effect September 11, 2013. Click here for Michigan Court Rules 1.111 and 8.127 which specifies the new requirements of Courts and interpreters as it pertains to people with “Limited English Proficiency”. Additionally, Click here to see the Administrative Order known as the “Limited English Proficiency Court Rule” (LEP).
The gist of the LEP Court rules is for all Michigan courts to provide foreign language interpreters to people with Limited English Proficiency. This applies to all areas of law and all languages spoken in Michigan. There will be a uniform standard(s) applied throughout all courts in the state. Anyone who needs an interpreter will receive one. Those who can’t afford an interpreter will be provided with one at no cost.
The court rules require each trial court throughout the State of Michigan to adopt a language access plan within 90 days of September 11, 2013. Various types of acceptable interpreters are noted in the Court rules, along with registration requirements for interpreters at the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). The types of acceptable interpreters who may register with the SCAO include:
- “Certified” foreign language interpreters;
- “Qualified” foreign language interpreters;
- A person who works for an entity that provides in–person interpretation services;
- A person who works for an entity that provides interpretation services by telecommunication equipment.
“Eventually, the SCAO would like all interpreters to be certified. That goal will likely take years to implement, according to Izabella Gavric of Executive Language Services, since there are only 65 certified interpreters in 7 languages currently in the State of Michigan.”
Gavric doesn’t feel the Court rules will negatively impact Executive Language Services (ELS) because they are already registered with the SCAO and employ trained interpreters. They are working towards getting all of their independent interpreters certified in the available languages. “We see the LEP Court rules as an opportunity to help more people,” says Gavric. ELS is a 33 year old company based in Bloomfield Hills, which provides in person and virtual/video interpreting services and document translation services. Gavric, a Client Service Manager for ELS, is involved in all aspects of marketing, proposal writing, hiring and training interpreters, and managing the quality control of the interpreters. She has 20 years experience as an interpreter and translator and 12 years experience teaching language and interpretation. For more information about Executive Language Services, visit their website.
Click here to view the 6 minute video explaining the intent behind the LEP Court Rules. Chad Schmucker, State Court Administrator; Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court; and Chief Judge William Kelly, 62-B District Court in Kentwood Michigan are featured in the video link.
For additional information about Limited English Proficiency Rule, visit the Michigan Supreme Court Website or view the Administrative Memorandum on this subject at this link.
Lori T. Williams is a 23 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI. She owns a legal referral and legal consulting business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC. She assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation by connecting them with the right legal specialist for their situation. She also provides consulting services for attorneys and other professional service providers on how to generate more business through effective branding, marketing, networking, and by creating strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.