This publication, edited by Penny Cooper and Linda Hunting, arising out of The Advocate’s Gateway inaugural conference in June 2015, represents not only the current state of knowledge from experts in the field, but more importantly evidence of a seismic shift in the justice system. The Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett has given the book an enthusiastic endorsement: “The authors of the chapters in this textbook are leaders in their fields. Their experience and research should help equip legal practitioners, researchers and policy makers alike with the most up to date information about the treatment of vulnerable witnesses and parties in legal proceedings. The challenge for all of us is to ensure that vulnerable people are treated appropriately and helped […]
Jo Parton and Nicola Lewis from the IfJ media team discussed the role of Intermediaries with Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvie on Monday 23rd May 2016. They told listeners: What vulnerability meant and how to access an intermediary to assist communication between the Police, Courts and vulnerable witnesses. That it is crucial that vulnerable people can have equal access to the Justice System They often can give evidence but the court language and process have to be adapted to meet their needs
The intermediary role has received remarkably little attention outside legal circles. Even media reports of high-profile cases where an intermediary has played a crucial role will often fail to use the “I” word, perhaps referring instead to a communication specialist. The Intermediary Role sets provides a user-friendly explanation of what it is that intermediaries do, and why the role is so important.
The IfJ 2016 Spring Conference ‘Joined up Justice – developments in partnership working within the Justice System’ was a great success, attended by around 150 delegates, speakers and facilitators from a range of professions. The atmosphere was ‘buzzing’ and there was much enthusiastic feedback from delegates and presenters. You can read a full report on the event here.
IfJ Responds to the Lord Chief Justice’s Report 2015 – Oral evidence to the Justice Committee 23.2.16
IfJ has read with interest the comments made by Philip Davies MP in Question 46 of the oral evidence, and the response made by the Lord Chief Justice, and has written to the Clerk of the Committee outlining the role of intermediaries, both registered and non-registered, with vulnerable defendants. You can read the full text of the letter here.
IfJ has introduced an automated system to enable end-users to contact IfJ member intermediaries who accept referrals for Family Court work. It is accessed in the usual way, via a sub-menu under the ‘Intermediaries’ button in the header. In principle it is similar to the system already in place for suspect/defendant referrals, except that at this stage there is no geographical selection involved.
Practitioners have long reported that communication props such as paper and pens, dolls and body diagrams can bridge the gap between what children know and understand, and what they can explain in words. What is unclear, however, is the extent to which practitioners are not only aware of the full potential of communication props, but their associated risks. Michelle Mattison, RI and Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Chester, explores the benefits and pitfalls in this illuminating article.
Communication in Investigative and Legal Contexts brings clarity to the subject by providing readers with in-depth coverage of the complex area of communication in forensic settings, for example during investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects / high interest groups, during discourse in courtrooms and via legal intermediaries and interpreters. Drawing on knowledge from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement worldwide, the text is unique in bridging the gap between these fields in a definitive guide to best practice, with chapters written by teams bringing together expertise and specialities from each field. The section Vulnerable individuals, intermediaries and justice was contributed by Brendan O’Mahoney, Ruth Marchant (both well known to intermediaries of course) and Lorna Fadden. Published by Wiley Blackwell
Professor Penny Cooper and Laura Oxburgh RI are currently conducting a short Ground Rules Hearing survey to gain an understanding of the experiences and perceptions of intermediaries and advocates in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. We would be very grateful if all intermediaries could complete this short survey. The link to complete the survey is here, and the closing date is 22nd January 2016.
Booking is now open for the IfJ 2016 Spring Conference ‘Developments in Partnership Working in the Justice System’, which will be held in The Ashley Centre at the Stoke-on-Trent Campus of Staffordshire University on 12th March 2016. Registration from 9am for a 10am start. For full details download a flyer here. To book to attend click here.