Grotius Conference on Interdisciplinary Working Arrangements between the Legal Services and Legal Interpreters and Translators.
The aim of the Treaty of Amsterdam is to create an area of freedom, security and justice within the European Union. An essential pre-requisite to achieving that aim is reliable communication, for the quality of all decisions and actions depends upon the quality of information and communication on which they are based.
Where there is no fully shared common language, the services of reliable legal interpreters and translators are needed. Grotius project 98/GR/131 was dedicated to establishing equivalent standards, in EU member states, for legal interpreters and translators in respect of their:
- selection, training and accreditation
- code of ethics and guides to good practice
- inter-disciplinary working arrangements
That project involved participants from Belgium, Denmark, Spain and the United Kingdom and its recommendations has been accepted by the Grotius programme and published (ISBN 90-804438-8-3): Aequitas – Access to Justice across Language and Culture in the EU.
Communication also necessitates mutual understanding of concepts. Therefore those working in the legal system need to be competent in using the channels of linguistic communication provided by qualified legal interpreters and translators, and in dealing effectively with legal colleagues and members of the public with backgrounds other than their own.
These inter-disciplinary and interdependent skills are needed at all levels, and in a range of situations, which include e.g.:
- Judicial co-operation between member states to combat crime, as called for by the Tampere European Council, through, for example, fighting organised crime, preventing drug trafficking and combating the trade in human beings and the exploitation of children.
- Judicial co-operation where individual matters cross national frontiers.
- Implementation of ECHR, and of Article 6 in particular, where defendants, witnesses or victims do not have an adequate command of the legal system they find themselves involved with.
The aims of this project (2001/GRP/015) are:
- to disseminate the achievements of Grotius project 98/GR/131 to all member and candidate states
- to carefully prepare and hold a conference on inter-disciplinary working arrangements, including codes of ethics and good practice, between the legal services and legal translators and interpreters, and on models for the implementation of a comprehensive quality trajectory for equal access to justice across languages and cultures
- to build on those achievements by developing and disseminating recommendations as well as practical tools, training methods, guidelines and skills through which they could be implemented successfully.
The outcomes of the project will be fundamental recommendations as well as practical tools and materials on
- Interdisciplinary working arrangements between the legal services and legal interpreters and translators
- EU standard codes of ethics and good practice
- And models for the implementation of a comprehensive quality trajectory in legal interpreting and translation.
These recommendations, guidelines, tools and teaching materials will be made available to all member states and candidate states through the publication in book form of the conference proceedings and on this website. Together they will allow individual member states to plan and chart their national development and monitor their progress against these recommendations.
The outcomes are intended to apply to any branch of the legal services, i.e. to judges, lawyers, police and probation officers, immigration and asylum services, legal interpreters and translators, etc., given that the legal process is made up of a series of processes carried out by different legal agencies. The integrity of each process affects the integrity of the whole.