The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Re: Appointment of Qualified Court Interpreters for Deaf Persons and Payment for their Services
In furtherance of the South Carolina Judicial Branch’s strategic goal to ensure access to justice for all, regardless of income, disability, or language barrier, and in furtherance of efforts over the last several years to enhance the South Carolina Judicial Branch’s court interpreting services,
IT IS ORDERED that the Order of the Court dated February 16, 2023 providing procedures for appointment of qualified interpreters for the deaf and payment for their services is amended effective April 3, 2023.
1. The appointment of a qualified interpreter pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-27-15 (2005) for a deaf person who is a juror, victim, or party to any legal proceeding or witness therein, or confined to an institution, shall be by written Order of the Court making the appointment. A qualified interpreter is one who has been approved by the deaf person and either the South Carolina Association of the Deaf, the South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, or the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
2. The court-appointed qualified interpreter shall receive payment of $80.00 per hour, with a two-hour minimum, for interpreting services rendered. The fees for interpreting services may be paid out of funds appropriated to the South Carolina Judicial Branch by the General Assembly until such time as those fees are exhausted, at which time the County shall be responsible for their payment. Any fees over the $80.00 per hour rate as set by Order of this Court shall be the responsibility of the County.
3. In addition, if the court-appointed interpreter resides in South Carolina, they may receive round-trip mileage at the current IRS-designated rate if they are appointed to a court outside their county of residence or business per Court Administration policies as outlined in the Court Interpreter Policy & Procedure Guide. Court-appointed interpreters who reside or have their business located outside of South Carolina may receive payment for mileage at the IRS-designated rate for up to 150 miles, each direction, for appointments within South Carolina, with any mileage over this amount to be the responsibility of the County.
4. Application for the interpreter’s fee shall be made on such forms as prescribed and furnished by South Carolina Court Administration, namely SCCA/262 and 263. The original or stamped true copy Request for Payment form must be submitted only upon completion of the interpreting services. Requests for Payment form must show with specificity (to the nearest quarter hour) the hours spent and approved by the Court making the appointment. In addition, the Court must sign the Order of Appointment and Request for Payment forms.
5. The South Carolina Judicial Branch will not be responsible for the payment of interpreter services when funds appropriated specifically for this purpose by the General Assembly are exhausted.
6. Forms shall be available at the South Carolina Judicial Branch website, www.sccourts.org, for use in implementing these procedures.
7. Court Administration will maintain a centralized list of certified or otherwise qualified interpreters. A party, witness, juror, or victim may use a qualified interpreter who is not on the centralized list as long as the interpreter meets the interpreter requirements of subsection (B)(1) of § 15-27-15 and submits a sworn affidavit to the Court specifying his or her qualifications.
s/Donald W. Beatty
Donald W. Beatty
Chief Justice of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
March 9, 2023