Court Intermediary specialise in working with children and young adults with complex communication needs, in particular those on the autistic spectrum.
Court Intermediary recognises that the legal system has taken significant steps in recent years in adapting the court process to take account the needs of those with communication difficulties in order to achieve justice.
Court Intermediary’s mission is to be actively involved in the ongoing improvements to the court process for individuals on the autistic spectrum, through engaging in direct work alongside witnesses and defendants in the court system and through being involved with national initiatives in this area.
I am a Registered Intermediary with the Ministry of Justice, having registered in 2008. I have facilitated communication with children and young people with a range of communication needs during ABE interviews and at trial. I am also a Speech and Language Therapist. I have worked with children and young people with a range of communication impairments since I qualified as a therapist in 2003. The majority of this work has been with children and young people with autism, learning difficulties and/or challenging behaviour.
I have provided expert witness reports for the Family Courts on topics relating to communication and autism. These reports have covered such issues as an individual’s capacity to make and communicate decisions about future placements, and an individual’s ability to communicate their wishes and feelings about set topics. I have either written these reports as the sole expert witness or as part of a wider multi-disciplinary team.
I have acted as the Sussex representative on the Ministry of Justice’s Registered Intermediary Reference Team (RIRT) for three years, including a year as the chair of the group. This is a stakeholder consultation group that represents the Registered Intermediary community nationally.
I am also a committee member of the Advocate’s Gateway (TAG), which provides free access to practical, evidence-based guidance on vulnerable witnesses and defendants. TAG is hosted by the Advocacy Training Council (ATC). As part of this work I have recently been responsible for chairing the update of the advocate’s toolkit about planning to question someone with an autism spectrum disorder.
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