Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The court set aside a decision where the member required counsel to speak in Farsi because he could not understand his English.

[17] Proceedings before federal boards and tribunals are to be conducted in either of the official languages. Translation is provided for the benefit of witnesses, not counsel. The procedure that unfolded in this case wherein it required the applicant’s counsel to speak in Dari, despite the interpreter being Farsi, and with the balance of the proceeding being conducted in English created a situation which undermined the seriousness of a claim under the Convention and was at best, confusing. Lost in it all was the applicant who, despite his request for a Dari translator, testified in English. While the Board member made the best he could of a difficult situation, the fact remains that the proceedings did not conform to the requirements of procedural fairness.

Citation: 
2011 FC 1424
Key Issues: 
Interpereter