Maryland Judiciary Judicial Council 2021 Annual Report

“There should be no avoidable limit to court access when providing resources for litigants to equitably navigate the legal system,” said former Court Access and Community Relations Committee Chair and Circuit Court for Baltimore City Judge Pamela J. White. “Our amazing committee is staffed by a group of dedicated professionals who contribute to the charge of addressing barriers to access to the courts and legal services. When the use of technology connects more litigants to resources for fair access, then we must continue this service to the community.”

As a result of measures taken during the pandemic, courts now have greater access to approved interpreters in a wide variety of languages through remote technology. With the use of video remote interpreting, the Maryland Judiciary can access a global network of court-certified interpreters through the National Center for State Courts. Maryland interpreters can serve in rural jurisdictions without having to travel, saving the Judiciary resources by avoiding travel time and mileage expenses.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extensive training was provided to registry interpreters for the use of the interpretation feature on the remote hearing platform. The Court Interpreter Program staff initiated an effort to support the use of interpreters in remote proceedings in spring 2021 and the team continues to offer weekly hands-on trainings for interpreters, including all staff interpreters. In 2021, the training has expanded to permit interpreters to practice their team interpreting skills using remote technology in a mock trial setting. The Maryland Judiciary made a grant in 2021 to the legal nonprofit Ayuda to provide interpreter and translation services to civil legal aid organizations in Maryland, as needed, to facilitate attorney-client communications. Ayuda’s Interpreter Bank already provides paid interpreter services to the civil legal aid community in Washington, D.C. Through its 2021 Access to Justice Grant, Ayuda began offering those services to legal aid providers in Montgomery County, Maryland. During 2021, Ayuda provided interpreters for 89 assignments, with most services being provided


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