A Judicial Example of the Importance of Plain Language

I love this particular judgement. It’s from my home state of Tasmania, and is by one of my favourite judges, the then Justice Blow, now Chief Justice Blow.

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Communicating via Interpreters

In a multicultural society, it is highly likely that any Australian lawyer will need to communicate with clients who do not speak English well.

Unless you can communicate in your client’s language clearly and effectively, then your best bet is to use an interpreter. And frankly, having seen lawyers from bilingual backgrounds also use interpreters because they aren’t confident that they can adequately interpret to a standard that would be recognised by the courts, I would err on the side of caution on this one if you have any doubts. Unless you are 100% totally fluent in the other language, hire an interpreter. You need to be able to ensure that you can prove your instructions were obtained properly, when it all boils down to it.

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