Rule 8.127 Foreign Language Board of Review and Regulation of Foreign Language Interpreters

(A)   Foreign Language Board of Review

The Supreme Court shall appoint a Foreign Language Board of Review, which shall include:

(a)   a circuit judge;

(b)   a probate judge;

(c)   a district judge;

(d)   a court administrator;

(e)   a fully-certified foreign language interpreter who practices regularly in Michigan courts;

(f)   an advocate representing the interests of the limited English proficiency populations in Michigan;

(g)   a prosecuting attorney in good standing and with experience using interpreters in the courtroom;

(h)   a criminal defense attorney in good standing and with experience using interpreters in the courtroom;

(i) a family law attorney in good standing and with experience using interpreters in the courtroom

   (2) Appointments to the board shall be for terms of three years. A board member may be appointed to no more than two full terms. Initial appointments may be of different lengths so that no more than three terms expire in the same year. The Supreme Court may remove a member at any time.

(3) If a position on the board becomes vacant because of death, resignation, or removal, or because a member is no longer employed in the capacity in which he or she was appointed, the board shall notify the state court administrator who will recommend a successor to the Supreme Court to serve the remainder of the term.

(4) The state court administrator shall assign a staff person to serve as executive secretary to the board.

(B)   Responsibilities of Foreign Language Board of Review

The Foreign Language Board of Review has the following responsibilities:

   (1)   The board shall recommend to the state court administrator a Michigan Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters, which the state court administrator may adopt in full, in part, or in a modified form. The Code shall govern the conduct of Michigan court interpreters.

   (2)   The board must review a complaint that the State Court Administrative Office schedules before it pursuant to subrule (D). The board must review the complaint and any response and hear from the interpreter and any witnesses at a meeting of the board. The board shall determine what, if any, action it will take, which may include revoking certification, prohibiting the interpreter from obtaining certification, suspending the interpreter from participating in court proceedings, placing the interpreter on probation, imposing any fines authorized by law, and placing any remedial conditions on the interpreter.

   (3) Interpreter Certification Requirements

The board shall recommend requirements for interpreters to the state court administrator that the state court administrator may adopt in full, in part, or in a modified form concerning the following:

(a)   requirements for certifying interpreters as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(4). At a minimum, those requirements must include that the applicant is at least 18 years of age and not under sentence for a felony for at least two years and that the interpreter attends an orientation program for new interpreters.

(b)   requirements for interpreters to be qualified as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(6).

(c)   requirements under which an interpreter certified in another state or in the federal courts may apply for certification based on the certification already obtained. The certification must be a permanent or regular certification and not a temporary or restricted certification.

(d)   requirements for interpreters as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(4) to maintain their certification.

(e)   requirements for entities that provide interpretation services by telecommunications equipment to be qualified as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(6).

(C)   Interpreter Registration

   (1)   Interpreters who meet the requirements of MCR 1.111(A)(4) and MCR 1.111(A)(6)(a) and (b) must register with the State Court Administrative Office and renew their registration before October 1 of each year in order to maintain their status. The fee for registration is $60. The fee for renewal is $30. The renewal application shall include a statement showing that the applicant has used interpreting skills during the 12 months preceding registration. Renewal applications must be filed or postmarked on or before September 30. Any application filed or postmarked after that date must be accompanied by a late fee of $100. Any late registration made after December 31 or any application that does not demonstrate efforts to maintain proficiency shall require board approval.

   (2)   Entities that employ a certified foreign language interpreter as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(4), or a qualified foreign language interpreter as defined in MCR 1.111(A)(6) must also register with the State Court Administrative Office and pay the registration fee and renewal fees.

(D)   Interpreter Misconduct or Incompetence

   (1)   An interpreter, trial court judge, or attorney who becomes aware of misconduct on the part of an interpreter committed in the course of a trial or other court proceeding that violates the Michigan Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters must report details of the misconduct to the State Court Administrative Office.

   (2)   Any person may file a complaint in writing on a form provided by the State Court Administrative Office. The complaint shall describe in detail the incident and the alleged incompetence, misconduct, or omission. The State Court Administrative Office may dismiss the complaint if it is plainly frivolous, insufficiently clear, or alleges conduct that does not violate this rule. If the complaint is not dismissed, the State Court Administrative Office shall send the complaint to the interpreter by regular mail or electronically at the address on file with the office.

   (3)   The interpreter shall answer the complaint within 28 days after the date the complaint is sent. The answer shall admit, deny, or further explain each allegation in the complaint. If the interpreter fails to answer, the allegations in the complaint are considered true and correct.

   (4)   The State Court Administrative Office may review records and interview the complainant, the interpreter, and witnesses, or set the matter for a hearing before the Foreign Language Board of Review. Before setting the matter for a hearing, the State Court Administrative Office may propose a resolution to which the interpreter may stipulate.

(5) If the complaint is not resolved by stipulation, the State Court Administrative Office shall notify the Foreign Language Board of Review, which shall hold a hearing. The State Court Administrative Office shall send notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing to the interpreter by regular mail or electronically. The hearing shall be closed to the public. A record of the proceedings shall be maintained but shall not be public.

   (6)   The interpreter may attend all of the hearings except the board’s deliberations. The interpreter may be represented by counsel and shall be permitted to make a statement, obtain testimony from the complainant and witnesses, and comment on the claims and evidence.

   (7)   The State Court Administrative Office shall maintain a record of all interpreters who are sanctioned for incompetence or misconduct. If the interpreter is certified in Michigan under MCR 1.111(A)(5) because of certification pursuant to another state or federal test, the state court administrator shall report the findings and any sanctions to the certification authority in the other jurisdiction.

   (8)   This subrule shall not be construed to:

      (a)   restrict an aggrieved person from seeking to enforce this rule in the proceeding, including an appeal; or

      (b)   require exhaustion of administrative remedies.

   (9)   The State Court Administrative Office shall make complaint forms readily available and shall also provide complaint forms in such languages as determined by the State Court Administrative Office.

   (10)   Entities that employ interpreters are subject to the same requirements and procedures established by this subrule.