Best Practices Manual
Minnesota State Court System
Minnesota Supreme Court Interpreter Advisory Committee
Minnesota law declares it to be “the policy of this State that the constitutional rights of persons handicapped in communication cannot be fully protected unless qualified interpreters are available to assist them in legal proceedings.”1 In its Final Report, the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Racial Bias in the Judicial System recognized that Minnesota’s non-English-speaking population is growing rapidly, making it increasingly challenging for the criminal justice system to meet constitutional requirements of fundamental fairness and equal protection. The Report stated that Minnesota was not adequately providing competent court interpretation for many persons with limited English skills. This lack of adequate interpretation was of great concern in that it resulted in the denial of equal access to the courts, not only for non-English speaking individuals, but also for the hard-of-hearing.