What happens if the judge does not allow me to speak my native language in court and I lose the case?

UPDATED: Feb 24, 2012

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What happens if the judge does not allow me to speak my native language in court and I lose the case?

My husband and I took our tenant to small claims court because he stole some of our personal property. I never asked the court for an interpreter because my husband was with me in the lawsuit as co-plaintiff, and he speaks perfect English and could translate for me. When I had to give my testimony, I said my name in my broken English and at that moment, I asked the judge if my husband could help me with the translation; the judge told me absolutely not. I spend a lot of work to express myself and finally I lost the case.

Asked on February 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would need to know exactly what court you were in, but typically because the courts are open to the public at large, most courts will provide or make special arrangements for a certified interpreter to be present. Smaller courts may access the costs of the interpreter to the requesting party, but they should still make one available upon request. My advice is to appeal the ruling based upon your lack of an available interepreter and attempt to get a new hearing on the matter with the court. If you questions on how to do so, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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