Most courts and tribunals in Aotearoa New Zealand conduct their hearings in the English language. For many participants, English is not their first language. They may struggle to understand and speak English, which could disadvantage them in the hearing process.
Interpreters help ensure all participants get full and fair access to justice throughout the hearing process.
You’ll need to tell the court at least 10 working days before you need to be there. This will give the court time to get an interpreter. Fill in this form and give it to the court: Request for an interpreter [PDF, 161 KB]
An interpreter interprets for an individual person participating in a hearing, for example:
The interpreter’s work also helps the understanding of other people in a court or tribunal hearing, such as:
An interpreter may need to attend a court or tribunal hearing in person or by teleconference.
You have the right to speak te reo Māori or use New Zealand Sign Language in court. It’s free if the court arranges an interpreter for you to do this.
You’ll need to fill in a form and give it to the court and the other people in your case at least 10 working days before you need to be at court. This gives the court time to get an interpreter.
Fill in this form: Notice of intention to speak Māori [PDF, 233 KB]
You’ll need to tell the court at least 10 working days before you need to be there. This will give them time to get an interpreter. To arrange an interpreter, contact the court in person, by phone or by email.
Our Guidelines for interpreters set out the conduct we expect of all Ministry-appointed interpreters in a hearing. They also explain court protocol.
Interpreters must adhere to the expectations set out in these Guidelines or they could be subject to our Ministry’s complaints process, or in breach of the Ministry’s Standard Terms and Conditions for Interpreter Services in Court and Tribunals (Standard Terms), which apply to every booking.
To be eligible to become an interpreter for the Ministry of Justice, you must have undertaken a criminal record check within the last six months and notified us of any convictions.
You can register your interest in becoming an interpreter by giving a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and your recent criminal record check to your nearest court.
To become an interpreter for the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, contact the Refugee Status Branch of Immigration New Zealand (MBIE)(external link).