In the Media

Statistics on the use of language services in courts and tribunals

PUBLISHED May 24, 2012

Initial bulletin, 30 January 2012 to 30 April 2012

The report is released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

The data presented in this bulletin are for face-to-face language services provided to HM Courts and Tribunals Service made and completed between the start of the national language services framework on 30 January 2012 and 30 April 2012. Request made before 30 January were part of the pilot phase, and are not reported here. Requests are made in advance and may be subject to adjournment, delays or cancellation.

Main findings

Number of requests for language services

Between 30 January 2012 and 30 April 2012 there were 26,059 requests for language services covering 142 different languages.
The majority of these, 53% involved criminal cases, 39% were for tribunal cases, and the remaining 8% for civil or family cases.
The Courts and Tribunal Service cancelled or failed to attend 11% of requests.

Of the remaining 23,234 request, the contractor Applied Language Solutions were able to fulfil 18,719 or 81% of the assignments.
However, presenting a single quarterly figure hides a very marked trend over the three months of increasing success rates for requests for translators. In February, the success rate was 65%, increasing to 82% in March and 90% in April.

Four languages: Polish, Romanian, Urdu and Lithuanian account for more than a third of all language requests received. However, the pattern different in courts (where Polish was the most frequently requested language with 3,152 requests) compared to tribunals (where Urdu was the most frequently requested language with1,080 requests).

For the 20 most requested languages, the success rates vary from 58% to 95%. The lowest success rates are for Latvian, Lithuanian and Vietnamese at courts and Tamil at tribunals. Table 1 shows that there have been improvements in the success rate for these languages since the start of the service

Table 1 Success rates by month for the less successful languages (Latvian, Lithuanian and Vietnamese at courts and Tamil at tribunals)

It is not possible to provide comparative figures for translation services prior to 30 January 2012, as these data were not collected.

There were 2,232 complaints relating to completed requests made within the time period.  Of these, 177 (8%) have not yet been resolved (new or ongoing).

The complaint rate (the percentage of completed languages service requests with complaints) has fallen over time (see Table 3). However, the language services framework has not been running for very long, and it is too soon to consider trends over time.

Table 3 Complaint rate by month, split by type of court or tribunal: 30 January to 30 April 2012

The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry's analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons:

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Permanent Secretary, Chairman of the Sentencing Council, Director General, Corporate Performance Group, Director General, Justice Policy, Director, Criminal Law, Sentencing and Youth Policy, Director of Analytical Services, Head of Neighbourhood Justice, Policy Manager, Criminal Policy ? Sentencing Policy and Penalties, Head of News, Chief Press Officer ? Criminal Justice Desk, two Press Officers, three Special Advisers, six Private Secretaries and two Assistant Private Secretaries