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TCL > November 2001 Issue > Chief Justice Directive 90-01, amended Aug. 16, 2001, amended, Concerning Court Appointment and Compensation of Language Interpreters

November 2001       Vol. 30, No. 11       Page  126
From the Courts
Court Business

Chief Justice Directive 90-01, amended Aug. 16, 2001, amended, Concerning Court Appointment and Compensation of Language Interpreters

Amended August 16, 2001

Supreme Court of Colorado
Office of the Chief Justice
Directive Concerning Court Appointment and
Compensation of Language Interpreters

This directive is created to establish payment and appointment practices, control court costs, ensure consistent management of Language Interpreters, and provide high quality service to the public. [Appointment of and payment for interpreters for the hearing impaired is governed by Section 13-90-205 CRS (1999)].

For the purposes of this directive, court proceedings are defined as any hearing or proceeding which takes place in a courtroom or in a judge’s chambers, including the occurrence of a "hallway plea bargain" that takes place in the midst of a court hearing.

The following guidelines shall be applied to Language Interpreters:


  1. The District Administrator or designee shall be responsible for the district’s Language Interpreter program including obtaining and maintaining signed acknowledgments of the "Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters" from all interpreters who provide services in the district. The District Administrator may establish procedures for scheduling and coordinating interpreter services for all "court proceedings".
  2. The court may appoint Language Interpreters as follows:
    • The court may appoint more than one interpreter in any one case.
    • The court is responsible for appointing, at state expense, one Language Interpreter to interpret court proceedings where a defendant (in Criminal or Juvenile cases) is a non-English speaker.
    • The court may appoint, at state expense, an additional interpreter for any party to a court case when there is a finding of indigency as to that individual. [See 13-90-114 C.R.S.] [See also Colorado Judicial Department Fiscal Procedures-Ch. 17.2].
    • In instances where there is no finding of indigency, the court may appoint an additional interpreter whose fees may be considered court costs pursuant to statute and may be assessed to parties in the case. [See Colorado Judicial Department Fiscal Procedures-Ch. 17.2 ].
    • The court may appoint Interpreters in cases to assist in making "personal contacts" ordered by the court, such as Pre Sentence Investigations or Collections Investigator consultations.
  3. The court shall, prior to initiating a proceeding, conduct a voir dire inquiry of the Language Interpreter as to the interpreter’s credentials. (Please see figure 6.2 of the "Court Interpretation: Guidelines for Policy and Practice in the State Courts").
  4. Courts are encouraged to use certified Language Interpreters for court proceedings, as determined by Colorado Judicial Branch policies, to ensure quality and accurate interpretation.


In any proceeding requiring thirty minutes or more of continuous simultaneous interpretation, the court shall take into consideration the need for, and make efforts to provide for additional break or rest periods to prevent interpreter fatigue.


District Administrators may hire staff Interpreters where cost savings or efficiencies can be realized upon approval by the State Court Administrator’s Office.


  1. The maximum compensation for an independent contract Language Interpreter non-certified shall be paid up to $25/hour and certified shall be paid up to $30/hour. The full hourly rate will be paid for any portion thereof, including wait time.
  2. In extraordinary circumstances, the District Administrator or designee may hire a Language Interpreter at an hourly rate in excess of those established in this directive.
  3. Fees for travel time up to 50 percent of the authorized hourly rate may be paid when the Language Interpreter must travel a distance of 50 miles or more. Mileage may be paid in accordance with section 24-9-104 C.R.S. (1999).
  4. In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, Language Interpreters shall not be compensated for food or lodging. To receive reimbursement for food or lodging expenses, the Language Interpreter must receive authorization from the court for the expenses in advance of the actual expenditure. Reimbursement of allowed food and lodging expenses through the District Administrator will be made only if itemized receipts are provided and expenses follow the Colorado Judicial Department Fiscal Procedures.

By the Court:

Mary Mullarkey

Chief Justice, Colorado Supreme Court


Colorado Division of Administrative Hearings
Chief Judge’s Directives

The Colorado Division of Administrative Hearings ("Division") is Colorado’s central panel of administrative law judges ("ALJs"). The Division provides administrative adjudication services to more than twenty-five different state agencies. The Division’s ALJs hear and decide cases involving workers’ compensation, professional and occupational licenses, public benefits and Medicaid, state government personnel disputes, education of disabled students, dismissal of tenured teachers, campaign finance laws, highway signs and highway access, lottery, bingo, raffles, and many other subject matters.

CJDs will be published on a space-available basis. See, e.g., 30 The Colorado Lawyer 53 (Aug. 2001). The Division’s CJDs also can be accessed online at: gss/DOAH/cjdindex.htm.

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