Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 8. THE ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT OF COURTS [68070 - 77655]

  ( Title 8 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 206. )

CHAPTER 2. The Judicial Council [68500 - 68641]

  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 206. )

ARTICLE 4. Court Interpreter Services [68560 - 68566]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 158. )

68560.
  

The Legislature finds and declares that:

(a) Resolution Chapter 179 of the Statutes of 1973 requested the Judicial Council of California to undertake a comprehensive survey of the language needs of California citizens and residents in relation to the judicial process.

(b) The Judicial Council performed this undertaking with the aid and assistance of a special advisory committee appointed by the Chief Justice of California and significant work was done by a private consultant under contract to the Judicial Council.

(c) During 1976 and 1977, the Judicial Council submitted to the Legislature a series of detailed reports identifying specific language needs of California citizens and residents, describing language services that had been provided by California’s justice system, indicating special problem areas in need of solution, and setting forth specific objectives to be achieved by providing adequate interpreter services to non-English-speaking citizens and residents in California. These reports resulted in adoption of this article by Chapter 158 of the Statutes of 1978.

(d) In 1990 the Chief Justice of California appointed the Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Court Interpreters to propose actions to the Judicial Council to (1) improve the quality of interpreter services provided to courts, (2) increase the number of available, qualified court interpreters, and (3) provide non-English-speaking persons with increased access to the court system. At the request of the advisory committee, the Judicial Council proposed to the Legislature changes in this article to clarify the law, to create a program to certify court interpreters, and to coordinate programs for interpreter recruiting, training, testing, certification, and continuing education and evaluation.

(e) The Legislature recognizes that the number of non-English-speaking persons in California is increasing, and recognizes the need to provide equal justice under the law to all California citizens and residents and to provide for their special needs in their relations with the judicial and administrative law system.

(f) Competent interpreter services in the courts and judicial and administrative agencies should be provided through programs to recruit, train, test, certify, and evaluate interpreters. Continuing education and evaluation would also help ensure adequate interpreter services to the courts.

(g) To plan, monitor, and coordinate interpreter services, reliable and uniform data are needed on the continuing use of and need for interpreters in the courts.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 770, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1993.)

68560.5.
  

As used in this article:

(a) “Court proceeding” means a civil, criminal, or juvenile proceeding, or a deposition in a civil case filed in a court of record.

(b) “Interpreter” does not include an interpreter qualified under Section 754 of the Evidence Code to interpret for deaf or hard-of-hearing persons, or an interpreter qualified for administrative hearings or noncourt settings under Article 8 (commencing with Section 11435.05) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 852, Sec. 2. (SB 1155) Effective January 1, 2019.)

68561.
  

(a) Except for good cause as provided in subdivision (c), a person who interprets in a court proceeding using a language designated by the Judicial Council pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 68562 shall be a certified court interpreter, as defined in Section 68566, for the language used.

(b) Interpreters named and maintained on the list of recommended court interpreters previously established by the State Personnel Board or established by an entity provisionally approved pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 68562 shall be deemed certified pursuant to this article until January 1, 1996. After that date, those interpreters shall not be deemed certified unless they have complied with the procedures for certification adopted pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 68562. Interpreters approved by the State Personnel Board or any other agency or entity for use in administrative hearings or nonjudicial settings shall not be deemed certified as court interpreters. These interpreters shall not be used in court proceedings unless they are qualified by the court pursuant to subdivision (c) or (d).

(c) A court may for good cause appoint an interpreter for a language designated by the Judicial Council who does not hold a court interpreter certificate. The court shall follow the good cause and qualification procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council.

(d) A person who interprets in a court proceeding using a language not designated by the Judicial Council shall be qualified by the court pursuant to the qualification procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council. If this qualified interpreter also passes an English fluency examination offered by a testing entity approved by the Judicial Council, this person shall be designated a “registered interpreter.”

(e) Interpreters shall establish to the court that they meet the requirements of this section under procedures adopted by the Judicial Council. The court record shall show that the interpreter (1) is a certified court interpreter as defined by Section 68566 for the language used, or (2) was qualified by the court under subdivision (c), after a finding of good cause, or under subdivision (d), if the language is not designated by the Judicial Council.

(f) In any court proceeding, if a court appoints an interpreter pursuant to subdivision (c), or an interpreter pursuant to subdivision (d) who is not registered, the judge in the court proceeding shall require the following to be stated on the record:

(1) A finding that a certified or registered interpreter is not available.

(2) The name of the qualified interpreter.

(3) A statement that the qualified interpreter meets the requirements of subdivision (c) or (d) and that the required procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council have been followed.

(4) A statement that the interpreter’s oath was administered to the qualified interpreter pursuant to the procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council.

(g) In any court proceeding, if a court uses a certified court interpreter, as defined by Section 68566, or a registered court interpreter, the judge in the court proceeding shall require the following to be stated on the record:

(1) The name of the certified or registered court interpreter, as listed on his or her court interpreter certification or registration.

(2) His or her current certification or registration number.

(3) A statement that the certified or registered court interpreter’s identification has been verified by the court using a certified or registered interpreter identification badge issued by the Judicial Council or other documentation that verifies the interpreter’s certification or registration accompanied by photo identification.

(4) The language to be interpreted.

(5) A statement that the interpreter’s oath was administered to the certified or registered court interpreter or that he or she has an oath on file with the court.

(h) In a deposition where a judge is not present to fulfill the requirements specified in subdivision (g), a certified or registered interpreter shall state all of the following for the record:

(1) His or her qualifications, including his or her name and certification or registration number.

(2) A statement that the interpreter’s oath was administered to him or her or that he or she has an oath on file with the court.

(3) A statement that he or she has presented to both parties the interpreter certification or registration badge issued to him or her by the Judicial Council or other documentation that verifies his or her certification or registration accompanied by photo identification.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 424, Sec. 1. (AB 2370) Effective January 1, 2015.)

68562.
  

(a) The Judicial Council shall designate the languages for which certification programs shall be established under subdivision (b). The language designations shall be based on (1) the courts’ needs as determined by the language and interpreter use and need studies under Section 68563, (2) the language needs of non-English-speaking persons in the courts, and (3) other information the Judicial Council deems relevant.

(b) By July 1, 1996, the Judicial Council shall approve one or more entities to certify Spanish language interpreters and interpreters for as many other languages designated under subdivision (a) as practicable by that date. The Judicial Council may give provisional approval to an entity to examine interpreters and establish a list of recommended court interpreters pending final approval of one or more certification entities. Certification entities may include educational institutions, testing organizations, joint powers agencies, or public agencies.

The Judicial Council shall adopt and publish guidelines, standards, and procedures to determine which certification entities will be approved to test and certify interpreters.

(c) The Judicial Council shall develop and implement procedures to administer the list of recommended court interpreters previously established by the State Personnel Board and the list established by an entity provisionally approved under subdivision (b).

The Judicial Council shall develop procedures and standards for certifying without reexamination interpreters on the list of recommended court interpreters (1) previously established by the State Personnel Board, or (2) established by an entity provisionally approved under subdivision (b). Certification of these interpreters shall be based on criteria determined by the Judicial Council, such as recent interpreting experience, performance in court or at administrative hearings, training, and continuing education.

(d) The Judicial Council shall adopt standards and requirements for interpreter proficiency, continuing education, certification renewal, and discipline. The Judicial Council shall adopt standards of professional conduct for court interpreters.

(e) The Judicial Council shall adopt programs for interpreter recruiting, training, and continuing education and evaluation to ensure that an adequate number of interpreters is available and that they interpret competently.

(f) The Judicial Council shall establish guidelines for fees or shall set and charge fees for applications to take the court interpreter examinations, for renewal of certifications, for certification of interpreters on the list of recommended court interpreters, for maintaining interpreters on the recommended list until January 1, 1996, and for other functions and services provided under this article. All fees and other revenues received by the Judicial Council under this article shall be transferred promptly to the Controller, and shall be placed in the Court Interpreters’ Fund, which is hereby created, the moneys in which shall be available to carry out the purposes of this article upon appropriation by the Legislature.

(g) Each superior court may adopt local rules to impose additional requirements, standards, examinations, and programs as necessary for equity or to recognize local conditions.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 220. Effective January 1, 2003.)

68563.
  

The Judicial Council shall conduct a study of language and interpreter use and need in court proceedings, with commentary, and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to the Legislature not later than July 1, 1995, and every five years thereafter. The study shall serve as a basis for (1) determining the need to establish interpreter programs and certification examinations, and (2) establishing these programs and examinations through the normal budgetary process. The study shall also serve as a basis for (1) determining ways in which the Judicial Council can make available to the public, through public service announcements and otherwise, information relating to opportunities, requirements, testing, application procedures, and employment opportunities for interpreters, and (2) establishing and evaluating these programs through the normal budgetary process.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 770, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 1993.)

68564.
  

The Judicial Council shall adopt rules and standards to implement this article and shall establish the following:

(a) Standards for determining the need for a court interpreter in particular cases.

(b) Standards for ensuring a court interpreter’s understanding of the legal and technical terminology and procedures used in the courts.

(c) Procedures for certified interpreters to establish their qualifications on the court record, pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 68561.

(d) Procedures and guidelines for determining good cause to appoint an interpreter for a language designated by the Judicial Council who is not certified, and for qualifying such an interpreter, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 68561.

(e) Procedures and guidelines for qualifying an interpreter for a language not designated by the Judicial Council, pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 68561.

(f) Rules, standards, and legal forms for establishing on the record an interpreter’s qualifications, and for establishing on the record the court’s efforts to obtain a certified court interpreter if the court proposes using an interpreter who is not a certified court interpreter.

(g) A procedure for Judicial Council and local court review of each court interpreter’s skills and for reporting to the certification entity the results of the review.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 770, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 1993.)

68565.
  

(a) The Judicial Council may establish a court interpreters advisory panel to assist the council in performing its duties under this article. The panel shall include a majority of court interpreters and may include judges and court administrators, members of the bar, and others interested in interpreter services in the courts. The panel shall develop operating guidelines and procedures for Judicial Council approval.

(b) The panel shall seek the advice of judges, attorneys, court administrators, court interpreters, providers of legal services, and individuals and organizations representing the interests of foreign language users.

(c) Panel members shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be allowed necessary expenses for travel, board, and lodging incurred in the discharge of their duties under the rules adopted by the Department of General Services.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 159. (SB 836) Effective June 27, 2016.)

68566.
  

A natural person who either (1) holds a valid certificate as a certified court interpreter issued by a certification entity approved by the Judicial Council, or (2) until January 1, 1996, is named and maintained on the list of recommended court interpreters previously established by the State Personnel Board or established by an entity provisionally approved under subdivision (b) of Section 68562, shall be designated a “certified court interpreter.” No other person or entity shall use the title “certified court interpreter” or represent that he or she or it is certified to interpret in or for the courts.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 770, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 1993.)

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