Important changes: The Ministry of Justice has updated the Standard Terms and Conditions for Interpreter Services in Courts and Tribunals (Standard Terms).
Read a copy of the standard Terms
Most courts and tribunals in Aotearoa New Zealand conduct their hearings in the English language. For many participants, English is not their first language. They may struggle to understand and speak English, which could disadvantage them in the hearing process.
Interpreters help ensure all participants get full and fair access to justice throughout the hearing process.
An interpreter interprets for an individual person participating in a hearing, for example:
The interpreter’s work also helps the understanding of other people in a court or tribunal hearing, such as:
An interpreter may need to attend a court or tribunal hearing in person or by teleconference.
Our Guidelines for interpreters set out the conduct we expect of all Ministry-appointed interpreters in a hearing. They also explain court protocol.
Interpreters must adhere to the expectations set out in these Guidelines or they could be subject to our Ministry’s complaints process, or in breach of the Ministry’s Standard Terms and Conditions for Interpreter Services in Court and Tribunals (Standard Terms), which apply to every booking.
To be eligible to become an interpreter for the Ministry of Justice, you must have undertaken a criminal record check within the last six months and notified us of any convictions.
You can register your interest in becoming an interpreter by giving a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and your recent criminal record check to your nearest court.
To become an interpreter for the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, contact the Refugee Status Branch of Immigration New Zealand (MBIE)(external link).