Why are intermediaries needed?

Intermediaries are specialists in communication, provided to children and vulnerable adults to enable them to have a voice in the Criminal Justice System…..in doing so, they give these victims access to justice

– Baroness Newlove of Warrington, A Voice for the Voiceless, Victim’s Commissioner’s Review into the Provision of registered intermediaries for children and vulnerable witnesses, 2018.

Intermediaries have a unique role within the Criminal Justice System that enables them to:

Use their expertise in communication to work out what people can understand

Suggest ways to ask questions that will be easily understood

Assess people’s ability to put their thoughts into words

Suggest strategies so that people can give evidence and explain what happened clearly and coherently

Assist people in understanding their trial or tribunal, its results, and in making their choices and opinions known

What do Intermediaries do?

Communication is a two-way process. People need to understand what they are being asked, be able to answer, and have that answer understood clearly by others. Intermediaries use their skills as communication specialists to support this process.

How to book an intermediary
From initial investigation to trial and beyond each vulnerable person is unique and each case is different, but in essence an intermediary will:
Assess the communication needs, skills and difficulties of the vulnerable person by:
They write a detailed report with advice and recommendations for the police and court officials, which can:
The report can be used to plan with:

The report is used as the basis for a meeting with the Judge and barristers, or magistrates in a court case, and sets out clearly how the vulnerable witness will be assisted, what strategies will be used, and how any difficulties (like needing breaks or not being able to answer a question) will be dealt with. This is called a Ground Rules Hearing. 

Intermediaries work to enable all court participants to follow the action, make informed choices, and understand any judgements that are made.

In practical terms this means that intermediaries make sure that:

If you need to contact us in an emergency outside of our office hours, please text our number which is 07875 564233. We aim to be available on this number until 10pm every night and over the weekend.