In our podcast series, Accessing Justice, we explore the barriers to fair access to justice for people with communication difficulties, with insights from expert guests.

In our first series, we explore a range of topics, from how communication needs are considered in criminal and family courts, through to fair access to justice in police interviews.

The second series, Hidden Disabilities, explores conditions which can inhibit access to justice, but may be overlooked in legal proceedings, from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) to stuttering.

Series Two (2023): Hidden Disabilities

In our second series we will be exploring the impact of hidden disabilities on individuals involved in legal proceedings. We speak to experts on topics including stammering, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), stroke and trauma, to learn more about how these (sometimes overlooked) conditions may affect a defendant or respondant at court.

Episode one: Stammering and Legal Proceedings with Dr David Ward

Intermediary, Miriam John, woke up one morning with a psychogenic stammer, which later disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared. In the first episode of the Accessing Justice podcast series 2 (Hidden Disabilities), Miriam talks to her former Speech and Language Therapy lecturer, Dr David Ward (University of Reading) about her own experience and explores how stammering may impact an individual’s participation in legal proceedings. 

If you would like to contact David, please note that the email address provided in this episode has now changed. He can now be contacted at:

For more information about stammering & legal proceedings, download our free guide from The Access Brief and explore some of the excellent work undertaken by STAMMA, including their guidance for judges.

Episode two: Trauma and Legal Proceedings with Cliff Hawkins

Cliff Hawkins is a clinical psychologist with considerable experience working with people with learning disabilities. He has also served as an expert witness in legal proceedings. In the second episode of our Hidden Disabilities series, Cliff discusses trauma and its possible impacts on individuals involved in legal proceedings, with intermediary Carla Millington. 

Episode three: Stroke and Legal Proceedings with Austin Willett (Different Strokes)

Austin Willett is the CEO of Different Strokes, a charity helping younger stroke survivors and their families to achieve active recovery throughout their lives. In the third episode of our Hidden Disabilities series, Austin and Miriam John (intermediary) explore the possible impacts of stroke upon communication and the potential challenges a stroke survivor may face when participating in legal proceedings. 

Episode four: ADHD and Legal Proceedings with ADHD UK (Global Conference)

ADHD UK hosted a panel discussion on “ADHD and the Criminal Justice System” as part of the first Global ADHD Conference.

Henry Sheldon (ADHD UK) chaired a conversation with William Scrimshire (Communicourt), Michelle White (Teesside University) and Allison Woodhead (Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust), exploring topics including underdiagnosis of the condition among individuals in the criminal justice system, police questioning of individuals with ADHD and the barriers to participation a defendant with ADHD may face at court.

Episode five: Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) with Becky Clark (ClarkSLT)

Becky Clark is a speech and language therapist and founder of ClarkSLT. She co-founded the RADLD YouTube campaign to raise awareness and understanding of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

In the fifth episode of our Hidden Disabilities series, Becky talks to Communicourt intermediary, Maija Siren, about this underdiagnosed language disorder, unpacking DLD, alongside some of its potential impacts for court users. 

Series One (2021)

In our first series, across five episodes, we explore 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.

Episode one: Communication Needs and the Right to a Fair Trial with Sanchita Hosali

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.

Episode two: Communication Needs and Police Interviews with Dr Kate Maras

Dr Katie Maras is 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.

Episode three: Communication Needs and the Criminal Court with Samantha Forsythe

In this episode, we are talking to Samantha Forsyth, a Specialist Criminal Practitioner at No5 Chambers in Birmingham. Samantha 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.

Episode four: Communication Needs and the Family Court with Lucy Reed

Lucy Reed is a Family Barrister, and Author of the Pink Tape legal blog. Lucy 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.

Episode five: Communication Needs in Prison with Christian Boakye and Jacqui Learoyd

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.