VULNERABLE DEFENDANTS

The intermediary special measure has been available to vulnerable witnesses since 2004.  A judge can use inherent powers to grant an intermediary for a defendant.  Since October 2013 the Ministry of Justice reimburses individual courts for this expenditure.


 Research by the Prison Reform Trust shows that:

         over 60% of children who offend have communication difficulties, and of this group,

approx 50% have poor or very poor communication skills

approx 25% of children who offend have an IQ of less than 75

7% of adult offenders have an IQ of less than 70

25% of adult offenders have an IQ between 70 and 79


If your defendant has learning difficulties or mental health issues which are affecting their ability to understand and communicate, he/she may benefit from being assessed by an intermediary.  The intermediary will then submit a comprehensive report with recommendations to help the defendant to prepare for and participate in the trial.  This may involve the use of an intermediary at any of these stages, or may give guidelines to follow which do not necessitate an intermediary being present.  On some occasions, the intermediary will conclude that an intermediary cannot assist as the defendant is functioning at too low a communicative level.

Since 2011 Communicourt has worked with over 4000 cases involving vulnerable defendants.  Occasionally, a judge grants an intermediary for when the defendant gives evidence, but not for conferences and the prosecution case.  Our guidance relating to these types of requests can be accessed here:

Decision Making in Respect of Intermediary Appointments for Defendants

To find out more, please call 01216630931 or send us a message using our Contacts page.