• March 2, 2024
 The role of an intermediary in family law courts

Today’s Family Lawyer Podcast

The role of an intermediary in family law courts

In this latest Today’s Family Lawyer podcast host David Opie is joined by Paula Backen. Paula is a qualified speech and language therapist and started working as an intermediary just over 10 years ago.

Since the set up of registered intermediaries for criminal witnesses in 2003, the role of the intermediary has developed but is still much misunderstood according to Paula.

The role of the intermediary is about advising the court on communication with people who are vulnerable.  Paula emphasises the difference between an intermediary and an advocate, and an intermediary and an expert witness.

An intermediary may not have any legal training and therefore they are not there to advise on the legalities of the case. It is a support role purely to enable a court to better communicate with those who are vulnerable, or have disabilities which make  communication more challenging; many of whose disabilities the court is simply unaware of.

Paula explores why there is such an inconsistency in the use of intermediaries, particularly in family courts, she discusses the shortage of intermediaries and what is being to provide more support, and the challenges presented by COVID and the use of video in a role where visual cues are so important to support communication.

The Today’s Family Lawyer podcast is available on your preferred podcast provider and at www.todaysfamilylawyer.co.uk.

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