Ten years ago, a commitment was made within Section 104 of the Coroners and Justice Act to allow certain vulnerable defendants the assistance of an intermediary. This is the only part of the Act that has not yet been implemented, leaving a huge gap in support for people with communication difficulties. This gap has been felt by every vulnerable defendant coming through the court system since that time.
Communicourt has always believed that all people should be treated fairly by the justice system. All defendants should have timely access to information, and that information should be communicated in a way that is appropriate for them. This is why our founder Naomi Mason set up Communicourt in 2011. She started out working on her own from her dining room. Now we have more than 60 colleagues, based in our West Midlands office and remotely across the UK.
A lot has happened in 10 years and we have learnt an incredible amount. We have worked with police, family courts, child witnesses and defendants. We have worked with more than 10,000 vulnerable adults and children, gathering a huge amount of communications experience and expertise.
We have adapted our ways of working in a global pandemic and our team have been an incredible force, helping people with communication impairments to effectively engage in their proceedings.
We are excited about what challenges and opportunities the next 10 years may bring. We want to continue to grow our network by recruiting more full time intermediaries, and expand the delivery of high-quality intermediary provision across England and Wales.
We will also continue to campaign for regulatory change to ensure that all vulnerable people have access to a consistent, monitored and high-quality service, regardless of their role in court proceedings. The landscape of court proceedings is evolving, and we are keen to continue to work alongside the justice sector. We want to ensure the needs of vulnerable people are met, at what is often the most critical point of their lives.
William Scrimshire, Managing Director