Have you ever heard of the word nomophobia?  Neither had I, until I was researching for this Article and discovered that it was the Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year for last year.

For our English-as-second language clients at MBA Lawyers, we see our role not just as lawyers (meaning, the providers of expert legal advice about Australian law) but we also recognise and take-on the responsibility to remove the language barrier so that our clients can be made linguistically present.  The access to justice and entitlement, for example, to avenue of financial compensation (following an unfortunate accident in Australia) should not be diminished simply because of a language barrier.

Our view (and noting the involvement of Mitchell Clark, our Senior Partner in supporting over 600 clients resident overseas during the last 20 years, many of whom are non-English heritage) has recently been endorsed by the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity.    Refer to its excellent set of recommendations which can be found at: https://jccd.org.au/ 

Interpreters and translators play an important role, in the successful outcomes of cases for foreign nationals.  We are so grateful for the support of professionals in this way, including several (in both Australia and Japan) of whom have worked with Mitchell for over 20 years.

Through our years of experience, we’ve also over that time improved the quality of our service.  Subtle yet vital aspects of our service, including the following features:

  • Use of Plain English.
  • Avoiding difficult jargon or where technical words or expressions are necessary, providing explanation in lay terms of such expressions.
  • When communicating (verbally or in writing) ensuring an approach in which at the completion of one subject topic, the next topic is given introduction before discussion of the finer details.
  • Appropriate briefing (and where relevant “debriefing”) with interpreter prior to Court date or important formal meeting/interview.
  • During a Trial, engagement of two professional interpreters who work in tandem. This was MBA’s intentional plan which supported our client who was a resident in Japan that contributed to the huge financial success achieved in that compensation case. Refer to the Supreme Court Decision at:

https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2016/QSC16-151.pdf  and  https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2016/QSC16-170.pdf