New South Wales Consolidated Regulations

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SCHEDULE 7A – Court Interpreters' Code of Conduct

(Rule 31.61)

1 Application of code

This code of conduct applies to any person (the
"Interpreter" ) who, whether or not for fee or any other reward, is engaged, appointed, volunteers or otherwise becomes involved in proceedings or proposed proceedings to act as an interpreter by interpreting or sight translating from any spoken or signed language (the
"other language" ) into English and from English into the other language for any person.

2 General duty to the court

(1) An Interpreter has an overriding duty to assist the court impartially.
(2) An Interpreter's paramount duty is to the court and not to any party to or witness in the proceedings (including the person retaining or paying the Interpreter).
(3) An Interpreter is not an advocate, agent or assistant for a party or witness.

3 Duty to comply with directions

An Interpreter must comply with any direction of the court.

4 Duty of accuracy

(1) An Interpreter must at all times use the Interpreter's best judgment to be accurate in the Interpreter's interpretation or sight translation.
(2) In this code,
"accurately" , in relation to interpreting or translating, means optimally and completely transferring the meaning of the other language into English and of English into the other language, preserving the content and intent of the other language or English (as the case may be) without omission or distortion and including matters that may be considered inappropriate or offensive.
(3) If an Interpreter considers that the Interpreter's interpretation or sight translation is or could be in any way inaccurate or incomplete or requires qualification or explanation (including, without limitation, where the other language is ambiguous or otherwise unclear for any reason), then the Interpreter must--
(a) immediately inform the party who engaged them and provide the necessary correction, qualification or explanation to that party, and
(b) if the evidence is being given or was given in court, immediately inform the court and provide the necessary correction, qualification or explanation to the court.

5 Duty of impartiality

(1) An Interpreter must at all times act impartially so as to be without bias in favour of or against any person including but not limited to the witness whose evidence the Interpreter is interpreting, the party who has engaged or is remunerating the Interpreter or any other party to or person involved in the proceedings or proposed proceedings.
(2) Unless the court otherwise orders, an Interpreter must not accept an engagement or appointment to act as an interpreter in relation a proceeding or proposed proceeding if the Interpreter--
(a) is or may become a party or a witness, or
(b) is related to, or has a close personal relationship with, a party or a member of the party's family, or with a witness or potential witness, or
(c) has or may have a financial or other interest of any other kind in the outcome of the proceeding or proposed proceeding (other than an entitlement to a reasonable fee for the services provided by the Interpreter in the course of the Interpreter's engagement or employment), or
(d) is or may be unable to fulfil the Interpreter's duty of accuracy or impartiality for any reason including, without limitation, personal or religious beliefs or cultural or other circumstances.
(3) Other than carrying out an engagement or appointment as an interpreter, the Interpreter must not provide any other assistance, service or advice (including by way of elaboration) to--
(a) the party, legal representative or other person who has engaged them, or
(b) any witness or potential witness, in relation to the proceeding or proposed proceeding.

6 Duty of competence

(1) An Interpreter must only undertake work the Interpreter is competent to perform in the languages for which the Interpreter is qualified by reason of the Interpreter's training, qualifications or experience.
(2) If it becomes apparent in the course of a matter that expertise beyond the Interpreter's competence is required, the Interpreter must inform the court immediately and work to resolve the situation, either withdrawing from the matter or following another strategy acceptable to the court.

7 Confidentiality

Subject to compulsion of law, an Interpreter must keep confidential any information that the Interpreter acquires in the course of the engagement or appointment as an interpreter (including any communication subject to client legal privilege) unless--

(a) that information is in, or comes into, the public domain other than by an act of the Interpreter in breach of this duty of confidentiality, or
(b) the beneficiary of the client legal privilege has waived that privilege.

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