(a) The Judicial Council shall establish a state-funded one-year pilot project beginning July 1, 1999, in at least two counties, including Los Angeles County, pursuant to which, in any child custody proceeding, including mediation proceedings pursuant to Section 3170 , any action or proceeding under Division 10 (commencing with Section 6200 ), any action or proceeding under the Uniform Parentage Act (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600 ) of Division 12), and any proceeding for dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties in which a protective order as been granted or is being sought pursuant to Section 6221 , the court shall, notwithstanding Section 68092 of the Government Code , appoint an interpreter to interpret the proceedings at court expense, if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) One or both of the parties is unable to participate fully in the proceeding due to a lack of proficiency in the English language.
(2) The party who needs an interpreter appears in forma pauperis, pursuant to Section 68511.3 of the Government Code , or the court otherwise determines that the parties are financially unable to pay the cost of an interpreter. In all other cases where an interpreter is required pursuant to this section, interpreter fees shall be paid as provided in Section 68092 of the Government Code .
(3) This section shall not prohibit the court doing any of the following when an interpreter is not present:
(A) Issuing an order when the necessity for the order outweighs the necessity for an interpreter.
(B) Extending the duration of a previously issued temporary order if an interpreter is not readily available.
(C) Issuing a permanent order where a party who requires an interpreter fails to make appropriate arrangements for an interpreter after receiving proper notice of the hearing, including notice of the requirement to have an interpreter present, along with information about obtaining an interpreter.
(b) The Judicial Council shall submit its findings and recommendations with respect to the pilot project to the Legislature by January 31, 2001. Measurable objectives of the program may include increased utilization of the court by parties not fluent in English, increased efficiency in proceedings, increased compliance with orders, enhanced coordination between courts and culturally relevant services in the community, increased client satisfaction, and increased public satisfaction.
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