Meet the Team

IfJ is made up of a diverse and dynamic team of dedicated trustees and staff, consistently striving to raise awareness on the vital role of intermediaries.

Our trustees bring invaluable skills, experience and knowledge to the board.

Our Trustees

Catherine O'Neill

Catherine O'Neill - Chair

As chair and a founder member of Intermediaries for Justice I have a firm belief in equality of access to justice for all.


I am a registered intermediary in the justice system, a Speech and Language Therapist and an Arts Psychological Therapist. As a therapist I have worked with adults and children with communication needs and mental health issues, in a variety of settings including palliative care, acute mental health wards and day hospitals, schools and clinics.

I am a visiting lecturer on the Wellbeing Practitioner course at University of East London and have written for Jessica Kingsley publishers and Childsplay International on subjects related to mental health.

As chair and a founder member of Intermediaries for Justice I have a firm belief in equality of access to justice for all.

Alongside other IfJ trustees I have run conferences and seminars on subjects ranging from: Working with Defendants; Trauma in the CJS; Joined up working in CJS; Abuse and its many faces in the CJS and Vulnerability and Justice.

I have chaired and contributed to the writing of many Toolkits for The Advocates Gateway and currently run trainings for the police on communication to Achieve Best Evidence and on Trauma Informed Practice.


Francesca Castellano - Secretary

After working for many years in television and film production, I retrained and gained a degree in psychology and a masters in Forensic Psychology.


Since 2018 I have worked as an intermediary with defendants and witnesses and specialise in working with people who have communication difficulties associated with autism, learning difficulties, drug & alcohol addictions, ADHD, OCD, depression and anxiety. 

I bring the skills of organisation and dedication to the role of IfJ secretary. I speak fluent French and bilingual Italian. 

I believe that the work intermediaries do is an essential part of upholding the concept that the Justice system should be open and accessible to everyone in a way that is meaningful to them. 


Robert Thomas

I am an independent intermediary assisting defendants in the justice systems, criminal and family, having previously worked as a registered intermediary.


I served on RIRT for two years on behalf of the South West Group and am a fluent Welsh speaker. 

I am a retired teacher having taught in the maintained and independent sectors both in this country and overseas for thirty five years. I have worked as a teacher and senior manager both in schools, sixth form college and in Further Education. The last ten years of my career were spent as senior manager in a medium sized mixed comprehensive school in the West Midlands, following which I took early retirement to return home to South Wales. In that capacity I served on a number of governing bodies and as trustee of an educational charity.

My main teaching subject was English and I have spent my career asking students throughout the ability range questions they can understand, which has been an outstanding preparation for my intermediary role.

One of the formative experiences of my early intermediary career was at the ‘Trauma’ conference in Wyboston where it was immediately clear that IfJ was making an invaluable contribution to our professional development.

I became an IfJ trustee in part because of the current and on-going great support that it gives to intermediaries. My early involvement as a trustee coincided with the release of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Review which gave me an insight into the work that needs to be done for intermediaries to develop as a profession.  

It is a very exciting and important time to be involved, and, whilst time consuming, it is one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in a long career.


Susan Stewart

I am a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and qualified as a Registered Intermediary in 2016.


I am a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and qualified as a Registered Intermediary in 2016. I’ve specialised in working with young people with Developmental Language Disorder, ASD, ADHD, learning disabilities and/or social emotional and mental health needs (SEMH). I also frequently assist those who sadly have no descriptor for their complex communication difficulties; having not had their needs understand as they fell through services.

I spent 3 years working as an SLT within County Durham Youth Offending Service. Whilst there I had amazing experiences co-authoring the ClearCut Communication resources, delivering training and working with young people who offend.

As an intermediary I currently work with vulnerable people aged 9 upwards. I’ve created communication friendly resources using local judiciary authorised court photos (funded by Durham Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner) to explain the process of giving evidence at crown and magistrates’ courts and assist witnesses provide a victim personal statement. These are gifted to be available on IfJ’s website here

I regularly deliver training to 2 local police forces and co-created and delivered the assessment course for IfJ. I am keen to assist with CPD development for IfJ. 

I have a strong sense of fairness, and seek to ensure people can get their voice heard and also understand what people say to them. This means I resonate with IfJ’s mission to bring fair access to justice for all.


Jeff Hughes

Jeff is a Registered Practitioner Psychologist who has been working in private practice and as an expert witness since the 1980s.


Jeff is a Registered Practitioner Psychologist who has been working in private practice and as an expert witness since the 1980s. Jeff is also an Assistive Technologist (computers for disability) and has worked in a range of settings with adults and children undertaking assessment, diagnosis and giving advice and support. Jeff's areas of special interest and expertise include the needs of disabled and vulnerable individuals who have general and specific learning difficulties, especially dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit and autism. Closely involved in the Special Educational Needs assessment and review processes since 1981 Jeff has, particularly in recent years, focussed on legal work and has reported and given evidence in Court for family, employment and criminal matters. He claims to be in the process of retiring …


Daniel Spicer

Having previously trained and worked as an intermediary working in criminal and family courts, I currently work in the homelessness sector as an outreach worker for individuals with wide-ranging vulnerabilities. I have advocated for people with physical and mental health needs, neurodiverse conditions, complex trauma, substance abuse issues, and unclear immigration status to have equal and fair access to housing.


As well as my advocacy skills, I bring a wealth of experience building and fostering inter-agency collaboration.  I understand the importance of supporting roles in large systems, and for this reason I believe intermediaries are a vital and unique force for good. Intermediaries for Justice is key in promoting and upholding the rights of vulnerable people and enabling their fair inclusion in the Justice system.


Amanda Lynch

In my previous career I was a TV Producer working on shows for the BBC and Channel 4, and as a freelance journalist contributing features to The Times, Sunday Times and other national press.


I initially dipped my toe into the justice system as an Appropriate Adult working in custody centres, with vulnerable adults and juveniles. I also worked with juvenile migrants, supporting them through the age assessment process.

In later life I trained and qualified on the Intermediary Development Programme with Triangle and, after working independently, I was subsequently a founder member of The Intermediary Cooperative. I specialise in working with vulnerable defendants with impaired communication due to mild/moderate learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety and depression.

As an intermediary I have benefitted greatly from the resources and training offered by IFJ. I am so pleased to join them in their work advocating for vulnerable people in the justice system and in promoting awareness of the intermediary role.


Our Staff

Maya Levin Schtulberg - Operations Manager

As operations manager, I undertake a wide range of tasks, including overseeing the website and online communication, maintenance and development of administrative systems, supporting IfJ’s activities & events and assisting the Board of Trustees in their subcommittee projects.


I have a professional background in anthropology, working in research and the charity sectory with health and wellbeing as the primary focus. I am currently in training to become a psychotherapist.

I enjoy the interpersonal aspect of the work which includes communicating with end-users, professionals in the justice system and intermediaries.


Sarah Mason

I am an Australian law graduate with a strong passion for human rights and improving access to justice in all areas. Through my experience working in law, I have seen first-hand the difficulties for vulnerable people to be adequately represented and have their needs met by the justice system. The work of intermediaries is therefore so important to assist those in need, as is the role of IfJ in supporting this work.


In my role as Projects and CPD Coordinator, I work with Trustees across various areas such as events management and community outreach, as well as general administration. I am also using my legal skills to draft further policies for the organisation and engaging in criminal justice reform.

It is wonderful to be involved in such a worthwhile cause and I look forward to embarking on future projects with IfJ.


External Advisers

Dame Joyce Plotnikoff

The communication skills of intermediaries help make the justice system fairer and more appropriate to the needs of children and vulnerable adults. I am proud to support Intermediaries for Justice in raising awareness of the intermediary’s contribution to increasing access to justice.


I trained as a social worker in the UK, then was admitted to the Bar in the US. However, much of my career has been as a researcher and co-director of Lexicon Limited with Richard Woolfson. Our Ministry of Justice report recommending rollout of the pilot intermediary scheme was published in 2007. Our book about the scheme  ‘Intermediaries in the criminal justice system’ - based on registered intermediaries’ first-hand accounts - was published in 2015. We have drawn on the experience of intermediaries in several articles and in guidance including Advocates’ Gateway toolkits, Criminal Practice Directions and the Equal Treatment Bench Book.


Dr Richard Woolfson

It has been a privilege to support the work of intermediaries since their introduction in 2004 and to assist Intermediaries for Justice in promoting their work.


I am a mathematician and management consultant. Joyce and I have worked together for almost 30 years: our involvement with the intermediary scheme has been the most rewarding of our careers. In addition to promoting the benefits brought about by intermediaries in England and Wales, we have spoken about the scheme in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However, in England and Wales the role is underfunded, unevenly available, insufficiently well-known and is still often misunderstood.


Our Volunteers

Sharon Richardson

During my working life I had a variety of opportunities to support vulnerable children, young people and adults participate in the best ways they could, in a wide range of educational and home-base


During my working life I had a variety of opportunities to support vulnerable children, young people and adults participate in the best ways they could, in a wide range of educational and home-based settings. These experiences enabled me to become a Registered Intermediary in 2008. 

I have been a member of IfJ since it's inception and have always endorsed and promoted the core belief of equality of access to justice for all.

I acted as IfJ Secretary, supporting trustees and members establish IfJ as a charity, promoting the needs of all vulnerable people throughout the Justice System.

Following a number of years in this role I took a break and then, missing the IfJ buzz, I volunteered to become IfJ's Membership Coordinator, an enjoyable role liaising with colleagues within the UK and as far away as Australia and New Zealand.