Civil Cases

The Court Interpreter's Act does not provide for interpreters to be supplied at government expense in civil matters, unless the government is the plaintiff or a deaf or hearing-impaired person is involved.

Interpreters for the deaf or hearing-impaired will be made available through the Interpreters Office. Notice of at least two weeks is required.

Except in the above circumstances, for any civil matter before the court, the party requiring an interpreter is responsible for contacting and compensating the interpreter on an as-needed basis. Payment of interpreter fees is not contingent on third-party payment.

The Interpreters Office can assist attorneys in locating an experienced interpreter. Attorneys are advised to begin searching for an interpreter well before the court date (a minumum of one week).

There is no legal requirement for interpreters in civil matters to be certified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The Southern District has no local rule on this subject but parties are advised to contact the individual judge's chambers to inquire whether the judge has any individual rule of practice regarding interpreters' qualifications for civil matters.

In emergency situations, a certified Spanish staff interpreter may be made available if an SDNY District Judge or Magistrate Judge makes a special request with a minimum of 24 hours. However, the judge may order the party to reimburse the U.S. Treasury at prevailing market rates for the use of a staff interpreter.