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The use of intermediaries for young defendants: overcoming barriers to young people’s participation in criminal proceedings

Date:4 APR 2022
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Professor Raymond Arthur, School of Law, Northumbria University
Professor Thomas Crofts, School of Law and Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, City University of Hong Kong; School of Law, Northumbria University

Keywords: Intermediaries - young offenders - vulnerability - right to participate - capabilities.

The registered intermediary represents an important resource in supporting young people’s participation in a criminal trial. However, in England and Wales there are significant disparities between the support provided by registered intermediaries to young witnesses and young defendants. Young defendants in criminal trials are offered much more limited support to participate in court proceedings. This paper employs Fineman’s vulnerability theory and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach to investigate the provision of intermediaries for young defendants in England and Wales and throughout Australian jurisdictions. We examine failings in the provision of intermediaries to young defendants and consider the further work needed to align this provision with the right of children to be heard in proceedings affecting them contained in Article 12 of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.



This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 2, Vol 34, Year 2022. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence. 

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