COURT INTERPRETER SERVICES PROGRAM
TWENTIETH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
LEE, COLLIER, CHARLOTTE, HENDRY, AND GLADES COUNTIES
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) of the 20th Judicial Circuit recognizes the growing diversity of people who appear before and utilize the courts. Removing barriers to communication helps to ensure that all persons receive fair and equal access to justice and can fully participate in court proceedings. The AOC provides access to interpreting services for individuals who are non-English-speaking or have a limited ability to understand English (limited-English-proficient), are deaf or hearing-impaired, or are unable to speak. The AOC employs full-time staff Court Interpreters and utilizes qualified independent contract Court Interpreters, with services available in all court locations.
Spoken-Language Court Interpreters:
The AOC provides spoken-language Court Interpreters for persons who are non-English-speaking or limited-English proficient in accordance with Florida Supreme Court Rule 2.560. Persons who do not qualify for the appointment of a Court Interpreter at public expense may retain a Court Interpreter at their own expense in accordance with Florida Supreme Court Rule 2.565. To see Rules 2.560 and 2.565, click HERE or go to https://www.floridabar.org/TFB/TFBResources.nsf/Attachments/
Qualified foreign language Court Interpreters are provided at public expense for non-English-speaking or limited-English-proficient litigants and witnesses in felony and misdemeanor criminal cases and juvenile delinquency cases. To facilitate the provision of court interpreting services, the AOC, in cooperation with the Public Defender and the State Attorney, has been working toward developing a process utilizing technology by which the need for a Court Interpreter in criminal and juvenile delinquency cases is identified at First Appearance or Detention Hearings, or as early as possible, and is being flagged for future calendar proceedings.
In all other case types, a Court Interpreter is provided at public expense IF the presiding judge finds:
- that the litigant's inability to comprehend English deprives the litigant of an understanding of the court proceedings; AND
- that a "fundamental interest" is at stake (such as in a civil commitment, termination of parental rights, paternity, or dependency proceeding); AND
- that no alternative to the appointment of an interpreter exists.
In the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Court Interpreters are generally provided at public expense for the following "other case types" as involving a "fundamental interest" based upon the nature of these cases: dependency, paternity, termination of parental rights, domestic violence injunction, Department of Revenue child support enforcement hearings, and mental health proceedings such as Baker Act, Marchman Act, and guardianship cases. A Court Interpreter may be provided at public expense in other proceedings, even if not listed above, IF the presiding judge makes the required findings, including that a "fundamental interest" is at stake. In these "other case types," a Court Interpreter will be provided at public expense upon order of the presiding judge.
To request a Spoken-Language Court Interpreter, click HERE or go to http://www.ca.cjis20.org/home/interpreterrequest/
Spanish Interpreters - Submit requests as early as possible, but at least two (2) business days (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the date needed for a Spanish Interpreter for a non-trial court event.
Other Interpreters - Submit requests as early as possible, but at least seven (7) business days (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the date needed for all languages other than Spanish and for all trials.
- Requests need to be submitted separately and for each individual court event.
- Notification of cancellation of a request is required immediately upon becoming aware of the need for cancellation.
- Notification of a trial in which a Court Interpreter is needed in any language should be given as early as possible.
- Emergency Short-Notice Requests and Cancellations may be made over the telephone by calling (239) 533-1580.
- In certain instances, parties may be exempt from request procedures in criminal and juvenile delinquency proceedings where automation has been implemented to provide automatic and ongoing notification of an already determined need for a Court Interpreter for upcoming court events. However, coordination by the parties for trial purposes and notification of cancellations are still required.
The AOC provides Sign-Language Interpreters or other reasonable accommodations for deaf or hearing-impaired persons pursuant to §90.6063, Fla. Stat., and the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
To request a Sign-Language Interpreter, click HERE or go to http://www.ca.cjis20.org/home/interpreterrequest/
Submit requests as early as possible, but at least five (5) business days (excluding weekends and holidays) in advance of the scheduled event, when possible.
To request any other ADA Accommodation, click HERE or go to http://www.ca.cjis20.org/home/main/adarequest.asp?Display, or call:
- Lee: (239) 533-1573 (ADA Calls Only)
- Collier: (239) 252-8800
- Charlotte: (941) 637-2110
- Hendry and Glades: (863) 675-5374