A district judge has demanded an explanation after he was forced to adjourn a hearing twice – because an interpreter failed to arrive at court.

Polish Andrzej Stanislawski, 49, of St James Street, Weston-super-Mare, has twice arrived at North Somerset Magistrates Court to face charges of being drunk in an aircraft.

The incident happened on May 12 this year when it is alleged Mr Stanislawski was drunk on an Airbus 320 Easyjet flight travelling from Krakow to Bristol.

Mr Stanislawski – who says he speaks no English - arrived on time at the North Somerset courthouse to face the charge on both occasions, only to be told his case could not be dealt with due to fact there was no interpreter to help him.

The case was first heard on May 31 when it is understood police were due to request an interpreter.

None arrived, however.

For the second hearing – due to be dealt with today (June 20) – the court administration team had booked an interpreter to assist.

Again, no one arrived.

The magistrates court books interpreters through Capita Translation and Interpreting, which has bases across the globe.

District Judge David Taylor staff gave the firm until 12.30pm today for an interpreter to arrive before calling Mr Stanislawski back before the bench to adjourn the hearing for a second time until July 7.

Mr Stanislawski was released on unconditional bail until the next hearing date.

District Judge Taylor said he was 'frustrated' at the situation and has asked the court to write to Capita Translation and Interpreting asking for a 'personal explanation' as to why a member of their staff had failed to arrive on two occasions.

The future of courtroom interpreting has become clearer after an international language services company formed in Leeds confirmed it has won two components of the Ministry of Justice’s new contract.

The new arrangements will replace the controversial contract held by Capital TI. That contract expires in October. 

The ministry confirmed the awards but said it would be inappropriate to comment further before the new contracts have been signed.

But Thebigword confirmed in a press release that it has won contracts to provide face-to-face interpretation, and written translation and transcription services. The £120m four-year contract can be extended for a further three one-year periods, said the company, which was reported to have a turnover of £42m in 2014.

The contract for non-spoken language services has reportedly been offered to Cambridge firm Clarion Interpreting Limited. A spokesperson for Clarion told the Gazette the company is in a ‘standstill period’ until 7 June and unable to comment further.

Regulators should consider introducing a code of conduct for interpreters, a legal watchdog has advised, reporting that some interpreters have been acting as ‘introducers’ to law firms.

The Legal Services Consumer Panel says ‘better guidance is required around appropriate recruitment of interpreters and ensuring services meet acceptable standards’.

The panel was commissioned by the Legal Services Board to identify the areas of law it considered should be the priorities for the super-regulator’s work on ‘enabling demand for legal services to be met’.

Highlighting a ‘fragmented landscape’ in the area of asylum and immigration, the panel says it access to translators was raised as a problem, with examples of interpreters speaking the wrong language.

‘Where interpreters spoke the correct language, the evidence raised questions about the quality of interpretation as well as the role interpreters were playing – in some instances acting as introducers to law firms,’ the panel says.

The Employment Tribunal did not ‘misdirect’ itself when it dismissed two interpreters’ claims for racial discrimination against the Ministry of Justice, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Lord Justice Underhill restored a 2013 Employment Tribunal decision to dismiss proceedings brought by Dr Windle, of Czech origin, and Mr Arada, of Algerian origin, against the ministry for racial discrimination contrary to part 5 of the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination against ‘employees’.

The Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether the Employment Appeal Tribunal was right to find that the Employment Tribunal had ‘misdirected itself’ by treating the absence of an ‘umbrella’ contract as a relevant factor in the assessment of the claimants’ employment status.

The judgment states that although Windle and Arada had done ‘a good deal of work’ for HM Courts and Tribunals Service, they did so only on a case-by-case basis.

HMCTS was under no obligation to offer them work; nor were they obliged to accept it when offered. The interpreters were paid simply for work done, with no provision for holiday, sick pay, or pension. They considered themselves self-employed and were treated as such for tax purposes.

Windle and Arada claimed that ‘in various respects’ their terms were less generous than those accorded to British Sign Language interpreters. The judgment states the background to the claims was HM Courts & Tribunals’ decision in 2011 to outsource the provision of interpreter services under a ‘framework agreement’ with Applied Language Services, but that it ‘does not affect the legal issue’.