Bill Text: CA SB1155 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Amended

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Court interpreters: small claims proceedings.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Passed) 2018-09-27 - Chaptered by Secretary of State. Chapter 852, Statutes of 2018. [SB1155 Detail]

Download: California-2017-SB1155-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  April 02, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1155


Introduced by Senator Hueso

February 14, 2018


An act to amend repeal and add Section 116.550 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to amend Section 68560.5 of the Government Code, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1155, as amended, Hueso. Court interpreters: small claims proceedings.
Existing law provides for the regulation of court interpreters, and requires the Judicial Council to designate the languages for which certification programs shall be established. Existing law requires, except for good cause, as specified, a person who interprets in a court proceeding, as defined, using a language designated by the Judicial Council, to be a certified court interpreter for the language used. Existing law specifically excludes a small claims proceeding from the definition of a court proceeding for purposes of that requirement.
Existing law authorizes a small claims court to permit another individual, other than an attorney, to assist a party if the court determines that the party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony and needs assistance. Existing law requires each small claims court to make a reasonable effort to maintain and make available to the parties a list of interpreters who are able and willing to aid parties in small claims actions, as specified. Existing law requires, if a court interpreter or other competent interpreter is not available to aid a party in a small claims action, the court to postpone the hearing, at the first hearing of the case, one time only to allow the party the opportunity to obtain another individual, other than an attorney, to assist that party.
This bill would delete the requirement that each small claims court make a reasonable effort to maintain and make available to the parties a list of interpreters and interpreters. The bill would instead authorize the court to appoint an interpreter for that party if the court makes the above-described determination. The bill would also delete the authorization to postpone the hearing one time. The bill would instead authorize a small claims court, either to consider postponing the first hearing of a case in order to attempt to obtain a court interpreter who meets specified criteria, or to allow the use of a “temporary interpreter,” as specified. The bill would require the Judicial Council to adopt rules of court to implement these provisions. The bill would also extend delete the provision excluding small claims proceedings from the definition of a court proceeding for purposes of the requirement to use certified court interpreters interpreters and would explicitly extend that requirement to small claims proceedings.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.Section 116.550 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:
116.550.

If the court determines that a party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony, and needs assistance in so doing, the court may appoint an interpreter for that party. The requirements of Section 68561 apply of the Government Code to the appointment of interpreters in small claims proceedings.

SECTION 1.

 Section 116.550 of the Code of Civil Procedure is repealed.
116.550.

(a)If the court determines that a party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony, and needs assistance in so doing, the court may permit another individual (other than an attorney) to assist that party.

(b)Each small claims court shall make a reasonable effort to maintain and make available to the parties a list of interpreters who are able and willing to aid parties in small claims actions either for no fee, or for a fee which is reasonable considering the nature and complexity of the claims. The list shall include interpreters for all languages that require interpretation before the court, as determined by the court in its discretion and in view of the court’s experience.

(c)Failure to maintain a list of interpreters, or failure to include an interpreter for a particular language, shall not invalidate any proceedings before the court.

(d)If a court interpreter or other competent interpreter is not available to aid a party in a small claims action, at the first hearing of the case the court shall postpone the hearing one time only to allow the party the opportunity to obtain another individual (other than an attorney) to assist that party. Any additional continuances shall be at the discretion of the court.

SEC. 2.

 Section 116.550 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

116.550.
 (a) If the court determines that a party does not speak or understand English sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give testimony, and needs assistance in so doing, the court may appoint an interpreter to interpret for that party. The requirements of Section 68561 of the Government Code apply to the appointment of interpreters in small claims matters.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 68561 of the Government Code, if a court makes a finding that a certified or registered court interpreter or an interpreter provisionally qualified under the rules of court is not available to aid a party in a small claims action, at the first hearing of the case the court may consider postponing the hearing, depending on the complexity of the matter, in order to attempt to obtain a certified or registered court interpreter, or an interpreter that has been provisionally qualified, or the court may allow the use of an individual as a “temporary interpreter” under the rules of court to assist as an interpreter during the hearing. Any other continuances shall be at the discretion of the court.
(c) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court to implement this section.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 Section 68560.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

68560.5.
 As used in this article:
(a) “Court proceeding” means a civil, criminal, or juvenile proceeding, or a deposition in a civil case filed in a court of record.
(b) “Interpreter” does not include an interpreter qualified under Section 754 of the Evidence Code to interpret for deaf or hard-of-hearing persons, or an interpreter qualified for administrative hearings or noncourt settings under Article 8 (commencing with Section 11435.05) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2.

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