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August 28, 2014

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JUSTICES MELTON AND BLACKWELL SPEAK OF NEED FOR INTERPRETERS

Atlanta, February 26, 2014 - Two Georgia Supreme Court Justices lent support to the idea that “equal justice for all” includes providing language access to the courts through well-qualified interpreters to people with limited English, as well as those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Justices Harold Melton and Keith Blackwell both spoke at a Continuing Legal Education Session on Feb. 20 at John Marshall Law School, sponsored by Georgia Legal Services Program, the Southern Center for Human Rights, the State Bar of Georgia Access to Justice Committee and the Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters, among others. Justice Melton is stepping down as chair of the Commission on Interpreters and Justice Blackwell is taking over the chairmanship. The Justices spoke of the need not only for certified interpreters proficient in a number of languages, but also for well-qualified interpreters who understand legal terminology and their obligation to protect the confidentiality of their clients.

The CLE also included discussions of “Legal Underpinnings for Language Accesss,” “Cultural Competency,” “Best Practices for Working with Interpreters: From Client Intake to the Bench,” and “Ethical Considerations When Representing Limited English Proficient and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Clients.”