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The Court’s Exclusion of Non-English Speaking Countries’ Certified Documents

A Yolo County Superior Court Judge denied the admission into evidence documents from the Nepal Court certified by the Government of Nepal in the trial of Ajay Dev. The Judge’s decision to disallow the Certified Nepali documents will set a precedent for the admission of translated documents for all other future court cases in California, and possibly all of the United States.

These Official Nepal Court documents were denied as evidence despite the fact that all requirements were followed according to California Evidence Code 1530 regarding public documents in a foreign country. The documents were certified from the District Court all the way through the Nepal Government, finishing with the Nepal Embassy in Washington D.C.

The judge denied the admission of the documents on the basis that the words “correct copy” were not used in the attestation, but the words “true translation” were used instead. It was explained to the judge that the documents translated into English by the government of Nepal were original documents not copies, hence the attestation did not need to say “correct copy.” The attestation verified that the translation was a true copy of the “certified copy” from the court written in Nepali, the official language of Nepal. All official documents from Nepal are written in Nepali. All official government court documents translated into English are done by the Ministry of Justice. The certified copy written in Nepali was also provided to the judge, along with the original English translation certified from the court level, to the Ministry of Law & Justice, the Foreign Ministry and finally the Nepal Embassy in Washington DC. This was all explained to the judge along with a declaration from a Nepali law attorney certified to practice in Nepal’s Supreme Court and a declaration from the Embassy of Nepal in Washington D.C. Still the judge denied the admission of this evidence into the trial.

By not allowing certified translated documents by foreign governments that do not speak English as their official language a precedent has been set that any judge in California, and possibly all of the United States, can now refuse to accept those documents if the Appellate Court upholds the Superior Court Judge’s decision.

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