We are excited to launch our new podcast, Accessing Justice. In this series, we talk to some great guests about the barriers to fair access to justice for people with communication difficulties.

Our first episode celebrates Human Rights Day on 10 December 2021, and we are talking to Sanchita Hosali, Director of the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR).

Sanchita discusses how we can apply our human rights. In particular, she talks about how the Right to a Fair Trial can offer protection for a defendant or respondent with communication needs in a criminal or family court.

We have five fascinating episodes lined up, covering a wide range of topics from how communication needs are considered in criminal and family courts, through to fair access to justice in police interviews.

Our guest include Dr Katie Maras, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath. Her work focuses on how autistic adults think and communicate differently, and what adaptations service providers can make to accommodate these differences.

Dr Maras is particularly interested in how autistic people fare when they are interviewed by the police as a witness or as a suspect of an alleged offence. We spoke to her about how communication needs can be a barrier to fair access to justice during initial police investigations, and when making statements.

Samantha Forsyth is a Specialist Criminal Practitioner at No5 Chambers in Birmingham. Ms Forsyth has extensive experience of supporting defendants with mental health difficulties.

She has spoken at the Supreme Court about the role of intermediaries in England and Wales. We spoke to Ms Forsyth about the barriers to fair access to justice for people with communication difficulties in criminal courts.

Lucy Reed is a Family Barrister, and Author of the Pink Tape legal blog. Ms Reed has worked at the family bar for more than 15 years, and is committed to helping people to understand what happens in Family Court. She set up her own Pink Tape blog and was also a founder of The Transparency Project.

We spoke to Lucy about how much support there is for respondents with communication needs in the Family Court.

Christian Boakye is Speech and Language Therapist at HMP/YOI Feltham, and Jacqui Learoyd is Lead Speech and Language Therapist at HMP Berwyn.

Christian and Jacqui are both passionate about their roles, there is a high prevalence of people with speech, language and communication needs in UK prisons.

We spoke to them about how they support prisoners with communication needs, and what more needs to be done to ensure there is fair access to justice.

The full list for this series:

  • Communication needs and the right to a fair trial, Sanchita Hosali, BIHR
  • Communication needs and police interviews, Dr Katie Maras, University of Bath
  • Communication needs and the Criminal Court, Samantha Forsyth, No 5 Chambers
  • Communication needs and the Family Court, Lucy Reed, PinkTape Blog
  • Communication needs in prison, Christian Boakye, YOI HMP Feltham, and Jacqui Learoyd, HMP Berwyn

You can also access all of our podcasts on Spotify, or on the PodBean website or through the PodBean app: app download