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AVIDICUS 3 Symposium

International Symposium: Bilingual Videoconferencing in Legal Settings
Paris, 21-22 January 2016

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Videoconferencing is a reality in European eJustice, enabling judicial and law enforcement institutions to create video links, for example to defendants in custody or witnesses in other countries. When the main parties do not speak the same language, an interpreter needs to be integrated in such links. Given the current scale of migration and multilingualism in Europe and the important role of videoconferencing in European eJustice, video links involving interpreters are likely to become more frequent in legal proceedings. Moreover, videoconference technology can be used to optimise access to legal interpreters, as confirmed by Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and Directive 2012/29/EU on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. These practical developments highlight the urgent need for provisions to integrate interpreters in legal videoconferencing solutions.

Research has begun to investigate several aspects of bilingual videoconference communication in legal proceedings including the quality of the interpreting performance and the dynamics of the communicative interaction in video links used in investigative interviews, court-room proceedings, probation and prison settings. However, a number of other factors that potentially play an important role in ensuring efficiency and fairness of justice have not yet been addressed systematically. These include, for example,

  • The way in which videoconferencing facilities are implemented, i.e. the role of system design and room layout;
  • The impact of the physical location of all participants, including the interpreter, on the communication (i.e. interpreter co-located with the judicial authority, co-located with the person to be heard, not co-located with any party);
  • The impact on the proceedings of the spatial organisation, i.e. seating arrangements and positioning of participants in relation to the equipment and each other;
  • Procedural questions relating to the effective integration of videoconferencing and interpreting services in legal proceedings;
  • The appropriateness of different modes/methods of interpreting.

This symposium will address these questions by reporting key findings from the European AVIDICUS 3 project, which has conducted a comprehensive assessment of the videoconferencing solutions used or under development in the legal sector, and other projects that are currently investigating different aspects of videoconferencing in the legal system. AVIDICUS 3 has drawn on a mixed-method approach that combines observations and qualitative analyses of videoconference-based, interpreter-mediated proceedings with insights from stakeholder interviews in order to evaluate the current state of bilingual videoconferencing in legal proceedings and design viable solutions.

The symposium will also present guidelines for bilingual videoconferencing and an innovative method for using the medium of videoconference itself to deliver training in bilingual videoconferencing, which was piloted in AVIDICUS 3._

Who should attend?

  • Representatives of judicial & law enforcement agencies
  • Legal practitioners (judges, lawyers, prosecutors, police officers)
  • Interpreting service providers
  • Legal interpreters
  • Researchers in the field of legal interpreting including spoken-language and sign-language interpreting
  • Specialists in the use of videoconference technology
  • Videoconference system designers
  • Representatives of educational and training institutions

Venue:   Paris, France
Start:      21 January 2016, 2.30 pm
End:        22 January 2016, 4.30 pm_


This symposium is organised with the financial support of the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. It reflects the views only of the organisers and participants, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.