Skip to content

UPC – Szymon Spyra v. Amycel / cost of simultaneous translation

02 Jul 2024

Graham​​​​ Burnett-Hall


Szymon Spyra v. Amycel LLC, UPC CFI, The Hague Local Division, Reference nos. UPC_CFI_195/2024; ACT_23163/2024; App_35134/2024

This is a procedural decision that concerns the use of simultaneous interpretation in UPC proceedings and also who should bear the cost of interpretation.

The language of the proceedings was English and the Defendant (Spyra), a Polish speaker, requested that the Court provided simultaneous interpretation from English to Polish. Amycel objected to the provision of simultaneous interpretation where the costs would, pursuant to R. 150 RoP, be part of the costs of the proceedings but had no objection to interpretation being provided at Spyra’s own expense.

The judge-rapporteur (Margot Kokke) observed that R. 109 RoP provided that the judge-rapporteur should decide whether and to what extent simultaneous interpretation was “appropriate” and considered that this required an assessment both of whether allowing interpretation (at all) was appropriate and whether is was appropriate that the interpretation costs should become costs of the proceedings.

On the first question, the judge-rapporteur held that the threshold for allowing interpretation was low: in order to meet the requirements of the fundamental right to be heard, a party should be allowed to use interpreter(s) if they deemed it necessary to enable them to participate fully in an oral hearing that was to be held in a language with which they were not familiar.

However, the judge-rapporteur rejected the request that the costs of the interpretation should be treated as costs of the proceedings. The Defendant had chosen to expand his business outside of Poland into a territory of the UPC where the business would not usually be conducted in Polish. Further, the general international business language was English. Accordingly, the Defendant was permitted to engage and interpreter but at his own expense (per R 109.4 RoP).

The judge-rapporteur commented that she believed that R 109.5 RoP could reasonably be interpreted in a way that did not prevent the Defendant from seeking to recover the interpretation costs as costs of the proceedings at a later point, should it transpire that it would be unreasonable to make the Defendant bear the costs himself.

Comment: Whilst the recovery of interpretation costs appears possible under the cost procedure provided for by R. 150 RoP, it is unclear under what circumstances the recovery of any interpretation costs permitted pursuant to R. 109.4 RoP will ever be permitted, given that R. 109.4 specifically concerns a party engaging at interpreter “at its own expense” and R. 109.5 expressly states that, “… where a party engages an interpreter at its own expense under paragraph 4; these costs are borne solely by that party.” The judge-rapporteur herself noted that a precondition for recovery would be that Amycel’s main action was dismissed and that Amycel was ordered to bear the costs of the proceedings but that “this alone would not be sufficient.”

The entire decision can be read here.