Standard Terms and Conditions

Overview: From 2 June 2020, we introduced Standard Terms and Conditions for Interpreter Services in Courts and Tribunals (Standard Terms). They’ll apply to every booking the Ministry makes, whether they’re made in writing or by phone. The Standard Terms clarify aspects of bookings such as management of cancellations, requirements to comply with our guidelines, breaches, and confidentiality. They also require all interpreters to complete a criminal record check before they can work in the courts and tribunals.

Note: The Standard Terms DON’T apply to bookings made on behalf of the Māori Land Court and Immigration & Protection Tribunal.

Ministry of Justice Standard Terms and Conditions for Interpreter Services in Courts and Tribunals

1     Definitions

1.1  For the purposes of these Terms and Conditions:

Charges means the Fees and expenses payable to You under these terms and conditions for the Interpreter Services.

Confidential Information means any information that is disclosed by one party to the other party in the course of providing or receiving the Interpreter Services, as well as any information disclosed by a Recipient to the Interpreter.

Court means a court or tribunal, and includes a judge, registrar or tribunal member.

Event means the individual court event (such as a hearing) for which Interpreter Services are required and a booking is made.  A single booking may identify multiple Events at which Interpreter Services are to be provided.

Fees means the amount payable for the Interpreter Services, comprised of an hourly or daily rate for the Interpreter as well as any other flat fees.

Interpreter means the individual booked by the Ministry to attend and deliver the Interpreter Services for an Event, whether You or a person provided by You, and includes a replacement interpreter provided by You with the prior approval of the Ministry.

Interpreter Services means the interpreter services provided by You for an Event.

Ministry or We means the Ministry of Justice.

Recipient means a person whose communications are being interpreted from one language to English (or another language accepted by the Court) by an Interpreter.

Request means a written request made by the Ministry for Interpreter Services which seeks details from You regarding, for example, your availability and fees.  A Request is not an offer.

Working Days means any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday or a public holiday in the place where the Event is to be held.

You means the party (whether an individual or organisation) responsible for providing Interpreter Services.

2     Booking Process

2.1  When making a Request for Interpreter Services, the Ministry will specify the expected duration of the Event, or of each Event if there is more than one (Expected Duration), and the date on which any Event is expected to start (Start Date).  Both the Expected Duration and Start Date are subject to change at any time before or during the relevant Event.

2.2  The parties will seek to agree the Fees payable for each day the Interpreter Services are estimated by the Ministry to be required.

2.3  The Fees proposed by You will be calculated using rates that are no more (but may be less) than the fees and rates referred to in Your standard terms. 

2.4   If You and the Ministry reach agreement regarding the Interpreter who will perform the Interpreter Services, the Charges to be paid to You and all other relevant details, the Ministry will:

(a)  give written confirmation of the booking and agreed details (Booking); and

(b)  endeavour to give You reasonable notice of any changes relevant to the provision of the Interpreter Services (for example, the location where an Event is to take place, its Start Date or the Expected Duration).

2.5  Once a Booking is confirmed the Ministry will, unless otherwise specified in the Booking, make any required travel and accommodation arrangements for the Interpreter.

2.6  Except as provided in clauses 2.3 and 6.1(b), Your standard terms do not apply and do not form part of any contract for Interpreter Services.

3    Interpreters

3.1 You will ensure that the Interpreter is punctual and appropriately skilled, experienced and qualified for the Event(s) they are required for. 

3.2  The Interpreter must comply with any relevant Ministry interpreter policies and guidelines at all times during the provision of the Interpreter Services.

3.3  If the Interpreter booked for the Event(s) is unavailable to provide the required Interpreter Services for any reason (including because of a conflict of interest) for the full duration of the Event(s) You will give the Ministry notice in writing immediately and will, if requested by the Ministry, provide a suitable replacement Interpreter if available.  

3.4  If You are asked by the Ministry to provide Interpreter Services for a case or proceeding in which You have already provided Interpreter Services for an earlier Event, You will, unless otherwise agreed with the Ministry, provide the same Interpreter for the new Event to ensure continuity of service.

3.5  You will ensure that any Interpreter providing Interpreter Services has undergone a criminal conviction history check to ensure that they do not have any criminal convictions.  Subject to any restrictions under law, to the extent You become aware (through checks or otherwise) that any Interpreter has criminal convictions, You must immediately notify the Ministry.  You will make the results of such checks available to the Ministry, and perform an updated criminal conviction history check on an Interpreter, as and when requested. 

4   Cancellation and Cases that do not proceed as expected

4.1  The Ministry, in its absolute discretion and at any time before or during an Event, may terminate the Booking (in respect of that Event or all Events) immediately by notice in writing to You.

4.2  Where We give You two Working Days’ or more notice of termination before the Start Date of an Event, We will reimburse any reasonable non-refundable expenses incurred by You for the purpose of providing the Interpreter Services for that Event prior to the date of termination (subject to clause 6 below). 

4.3  Subject to clause 5, where We give You less than two Working Days’ notice of termination before the Start Date of an Event, or We give You notice of termination during an Event, We will:

(a)  pay the Charges incurred up to the date of termination; and

(b)  pay You an additional amount based on the agreed hourly or daily rates for the Interpreter up to an additional 5 days or the number of days remaining in the relevant Event (determined by reference to the Expected Duration) after the date of termination, whichever is less.

4.4   In the event of cancellation or termination, the Ministry will be liable to pay no more than the amounts described in this clause 4.

4.5   The Ministry may amend the Start Date, Expected Duration or other details of a booked Event at any time before or during the Event by notice to You.  In urgent cases the Ministry may require that You confirm in writing Your availability for the amended Booking within a certain timeframe.  Where You do not provide this confirmation within the timeframe required by the Ministry, the Booking will be cancelled without further notice as if terminated under this clause 4, effective as of the final Working Day of the specified timeframe.

4.6   If an Event extends beyond its Expected Duration, the Ministry will pay:

(a)  for the additional Interpreter Services at the rates previously agreed for the Booking for each additional day the Interpreter Services are required; and

(b)  any additional expenses agreed in writing provided such expenses are charged on a similar basis to those previously agreed for the Booking.

5    Remedies for breach

5.1  If:

(a)   it appears to the Ministry that there is a conflict of interest; or

(b)   the Court is dissatisfied with the Interpreter Services; or

(c)   You or the Interpreter otherwise breaches this agreement,

the Ministry may, at its absolute discretion, without prejudicing any other rights or remedies available to it, either:

(i)     require you to provide a suitable replacement Interpreter immediately on request by the Ministry; or

(ii)    terminate the Booking immediately on notice in writing, in which case no more than the Charges incurred up until the date of termination shall be payable.

6   Expenses

6.1  The Ministry will reimburse You for reasonable expenses incurred in providing the Interpreter Services, subject to the following:

(a)  the categories of expense accepted by the Ministry are flights and accommodation (unless booked by the Ministry), mileage and daily meal allowances;

(b)  expenses will be paid on the basis agreed at the time the Booking is confirmed (based on the rates set out in your standard terms) or as specified in the Booking (which will prevail over Your standard terms); and

(c)  the Ministry will be responsible for booking all flights and accommodation for Interpreters unless otherwise specified in the Booking.

7    Confidentiality

7.1  You confirm that You have adequate security measures to safeguard the Ministry’s Confidential Information from unauthorised access or use by third parties, and that you will not use or disclose the Ministry’s Confidential Information to any person or organisation other than:

(a)  to the extent that use or disclosure is necessary for the purposes of providing the Interpreter Services;

(b)  if the Ministry gives prior written approval to the use or disclosure;

(c)   if the use or disclosure is required by law; or

(d)   if the information has already become public, other than through a breach of the obligation of confidentiality by the person which made it public.

7.2   You must ensure that any of your personnel to whom you provide Confidential Information as part of the services, including (but not limited to) the Interpreter, understand and are bound by equivalent obligations of confidentiality in respect of the information.

7.3   For the avoidance of doubt, it is essential that You and the Interpreter comply with all Court suppression orders and other requirements of law relating to the confidentiality of court proceedings in which the Interpreter takes part.