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About Intermediaries

What is an Intermediary?

The YJCEA 1999 created the provision for a range of ‘Special Measures’ for cases involving vulnerable prosecution witnesses to give their best evidence in court, one of which is the ‘Intermediary Special Measure.’

The function of an Intermediary is to facilitate communication in order to improve the quality (completeness, coherence and accuracy) of a person’s evidence and to ensure effective participation in the court process. Intermediaries are impartial and their duty is to the court.

Intermediaries are different from:

  • Supporters or appropriate adults: We are not instructed to provide moral support to the vulnerable person but to facilitate communication. The Intermediary role is impartial and much more specialised.

  • Legal advisors: We cannot give legal advice. Our role is only to assist with simplifying and explaining legal concepts, processes, procedures and arguments.

  • Expert witnesses: We cannot give an opinion on the accuracy of the vulnerable person's recall in the case, their capacity or fitness to plead or whether they are telling the truth in their evidence.

  • Interpreters: We do not convert information into a different format or language word for word but help to summarise and simplify information to a level that can be understood by the vulnerable person, dependent upon their specific communication needs.

The Witness Intermediary Scheme (WIS) was set up by Ministry of Justice to implement the Intermediary Special Measure. The WIS is operated and managed by the National Crime Agency, who match referrals to Registered Intermediaries with the appropriate skills and knowledge.

To become a Registered Intermediary, an individual (already a communication specialist, such as a Speech and Language Therapist, Mental Health Professional or Special Needs Teacher) must apply and complete a training course delivered by Registered Intermediaries and other CJS professionals, commissioned and run by the Ministry of Justice. They are then placed on the ‘register’ and can begin to accept referrals to work with vulnerable witnesses.

Until recently, there was no equivalent Intermediary Scheme for defendants (or respondents in the Family Courts), and so, although Judges could appoint Intermediaries for vulnerable defendants using their inherent powers, there was little consistency in terms of how and when Intermediaries were appointed, and those acting as 'non-Registered' Intermediaries were not regulated or quality assured. 

 

In order to address these issues, a new 'HMCTS Appointed Intermediary Service' (HAIS) has been developed, with contracts being awarded to approved organisations and individuals already working in this field. Two types of contract have been awarded: 

  • MASP (Managed Approved Service Provider) contracts were available for large companies and organisations, who can provide their own training and quality assurance. 

  • ASP (Approved Service Provider) contracts were available for small companies and independent practitioners.

The Intermediary Co-operative (TIC) was developed in response to these changes. TIC is an ethical and non-profit organisation made up of a group of highly skilled and experienced independent Intermediaries who have chosen to continue our work in a more collaborative manner, under an MASP contract. TIC was awarded an MASP contract by the MoJ in 2022. Joanna Campbell is a member of TIC and is accepting cases through this organisation. Obtaining an Intermediary via TIC has numerous benefits. For example:

  • All of our Intermediaries have completed an application and interview, requiring them to demonstrate a number of core competencies and evidence their skills and expertise in the role;

  • Our work is quality assured and all of our Intermediaries participate in ongoing supervision, mentoring and CPD;

  • You will have a choice of Intermediaries and can select based on (for example) previous good experiences, skill sets, expertise or geographical location (which should reduce costs for the court, as well as our carbon footprint); 

  • Should an Intermediary accept a referral, they will have a responsibility to remain involved at all stages, resulting in consistency of Intermediary for the vulnerable person, or, where this is simply not possible (for example, in a very long trial or a case with numerous hearings), cases may be shared between TIC Intermediaries, with a full handover process in place. 

For more information about the Intermediary role, please visit: www.intermediaries-for-justice.org/intermediary-role

For more information on The Intermediary Co-operative and to make a referral to Joanna Campbell, please visit: theintermediarycooperative.co.uk

 

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About Intermediaries: Services
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