Helping you to help your client

We are Communicourt, the largest HMCTS Managed and Approved Provider of court intermediaries. Our communication specialists work with defendants and respondents in criminal and family courts. Because our work is funded by HMCTS and the Legal Aid Agency, working with our intermediaries is free to solicitors and clients.

We are there to help you work more efficiently with your client, and give them fair access to justice. If you think your client has issues with communication, even if they don’t have a diagnosed condition, we can help.

What does an intermediary do?

An intermediary facilitates communication between the courts, legal professionals and their clients with communication difficulties. Our role is impartial and our duty is to the courts.

We help people to process and retain information about their court hearing. We support them to give evidence and participate in their proceedings.

As well as those without a diagnosed communication difficulty, we work with clients who have a range of conditions including ADHD, autism, learning disabilities or a mental health condition.

Our new free resource, The Access Brief, for legal professionals has information and advice about supporting people with communication difficulties in court.

How can Communicourt help you and your client?

If your client is struggling to understand their trial process or refusing to engage, the trial process can become difficult and slow. A client who cannot recall events or understand questions put to them in court could be dismissed as unreliable by a judge or jury.

We can:

Save you time

save you time and help your client’s trial run smoothly

support your client to give their best evidence

Special measures

recommend special measures, such as use of a video link

Visual aids

design visual aids that support understanding and can be used in court

Advice and questions

help your client understand your advice or questions

How to know when your client would benefit from
an intermediary

It isn’t always easy to spot communication difficulties. Your client may appear difficult or surly, or they may refuse to talk to you. They might be agitated and find it hard to stay focused on one topic. All of these things can suggest a communication difficulty.

 If your client does not have a diagnosis but you are concerned there is a communication issue, here are some signs to look out for:

They can’t focus on your questions or go off on tangents

They can’t recall events consistently

They take time to process the information you give them

They appear to have difficulty understanding what you are saying to them

They struggle to provide a complete and cohesive narrative

What is it like to work with an intermediary?

“I certainly found it much easier communicating with the client at all times with the intermediary’s assistance.” 

Defence Barrister

“Thanks so much for your help. I think you guys are incredible at making us better at our jobs. You have been completely on the ball and smiley and bright throughout, despite all the problems and long days etc.. We were very lucky to have your help and support.”

Lucinda Wicks, Barrister, Coram Chambers, London

“Communicourt provide a fantastic service from first contact through to the experts at court. They assisted with obtaining funding from the court prior to the hearing and then provided clear detailed information to the Court when requested to do so. The intermediary’s manner with our client was superb, gentle, friendly and supportive whilst remaining professional and independent at all times.” 

Damian Zelazowski, Solicitor Advocate

“I have just been involved in a case where we used Communicourt for the first time and in family care proceedings.  I was sceptical as to how a speech and language expert would help with an overly anxious client and thought I had a good rapport with the client so was it really needed? I was so wrong. I particularly valued the team approach given that the stakes for this client, as always in a care case, were incredibly high. I know that we were able to get him through the court process much better. All of us, including the judge, were very impressed with the service, thank you”

Diana Lessing, Barrister

How do you book an intermediary?

Booking a Communicourt intermediary to support your client is quick, free and easy to do. Our online portal allows you to apply online, and as our service is funded by HMCTS and Legal Aid we’ll send you a quote and everything you need to apply for funding within 24-48 hours. Our easy-to-use online portal has been designed to match the HMCTS process so there’s no need to complete additional forms.

Five steps to booking an intermediary

Find out more about our booking process, from applying online to booking court dates on our referrals page.

FAQs

The services provided by our intermediaries are mostly funded by HMCTS or the Legal Aid Agency, with no charges or payments required from legal representatives. All of our fees are set by the HMCTS Approved Intermediary Service Framework

Not at all, our intermediaries can make court cases run much more smoothly and efficiently by supporting your client to understand and take part in their proceedings. We often have cancellation appointments for assessments and can often slot things in quickly.

We can carry out assessments and support your client remotely or in person. All in person work must be carried out in a professional setting.

We are communication specialists and our purpose is solely to facilitate communication between all parties in the court. We are not expert witnesses or advocates.

Our role is not to decide on your client’s capacity or to give them emotional support outside of the courtroom. The intermediary will assess their communication needs and then advise the court on the adjustments that can be made to support them at court.

The HMCTS Appointed Intermediary Service Framework began in April 2022 to standardise support for court and tribunal users with communication difficulties.  Communicourt is the largest of the three Managed and Approved Service Providers on the framework.  Find out more about the service.

An intermediary is there to give your client fair access to justice and make sure they have an active role in what is happening to them. We can help them understand what is happening at each stage of their proceedings so they can make the right decisions for the best outcome.

We have produced a video to help your client to understand what happens at an assessment.

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