Neurodivergence Webinar Series: Witness Handling

Wednesday 15 May 2024, 5.30pm - 6.30pm


Garden Court Chambers is delighted to host the final webinar in our series exploring neurodivergence in the justice system.

This webinar has been postponed from 23 January to 15 May 2024.

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2024
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free

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This session will explain how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and give attendees the tools to help identify barriers to participation at the earliest stage, formulate reasonable adjustments and manage responses to requests for accommodations. It will also cover questioning techniques which facilitate and hamper best evidence and the role of intermediaries.

Speaker Panel

Amanda Weston KC, Garden Court Chambers
Amanda is a leading public and administrative law silk. She co-authors Judicial Review: A Practical Guide (Lexis Nexis) and is a member of the ‘A’ Panel of preferred Counsel who act for the Equality & Human Rights Commission. Amanda has acted in hundreds of asylum and human rights appeals including in high-profile and sensitive cases and those involving extradition. Her cases include gender and sexuality cases, complex political and religious cases and appeals for children and vulnerable adults. Amanda also acts in cases in the Family Division, Administrative Court and appeal courts where the rights of children and young people are in play. Her particular areas of ‘crossover’ expertise involve safeguarding, local authority corporate parenting duties, education and disability, deprivation of liberty, immigration and citizenship matters.

Sam Robinson KC, Garden Court Chambers
Sam is a highly regarded criminal defence silk with a practice consisting of murder, complex conspiracy and fraud. He is well known for his excellent witness handling and imaginative and persuasive closing speeches. He has an excellent rapport with lay clients and is often instructed as a result of his being requested by defendants who have observed him in court. He is exceptionally skilled in the preparation and presentation of multi-handed cases. As an advocate, he is particularly sought after for his ability to successfully navigate the evidence in chief of the most challenging defendants. He understands that success is routed in the preparation. A process which begins long before the first question is asked.

Thalia Maragh, Garden Court Chambers
Thalia has maintained a criminal defence, human rights and constitutional law focused practice for over 20 years both at the Jamaican and English Bars. She has appearance before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in many cases and has advised on numerous appeals.  Thalia has a growing international practice, appearing in the Privy Council and advising on the merits of appealing to the Privy Council, particularly cases which raise constitutional law issues. She has also appeared before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as junior counsel to Leslie Thomas KC. As well as delivering legal training for the Ogiek community in Kenya, Thalia is currently instructed on the Barbuda runway challenge heard by the Privy Council, representing Jacklyn Frank and John Mussington.

Rebecca Wilkinson, Court Intermediary, Communicourt
Rebecca Wilkinson is a court intermediary from Communicourt, the largest provider of HMCTS appointed intermediaries in England and Wales. She has extensive experience assisting court users with communication difficulties across the justice system, working in family, criminal and tribunal courts. In addition to an academic background in Psychology and Language Sciences, specialising in acquired language disorders and neurodivergent communication, Rebecca is involved in a number of internal projects at Communicourt, promoting neurodivergence awareness and strategies for inclusion.

Louise Engers, Speech and Language Therapist, Registered Intermediary and HMCTS Appointed Intermediary
Louise received her BSc in Speech and Language Therapy in 2003 and her MSc in Learning Disability and Multisensory Impairment in 2009. She has extensive experience in the provision of services to both paediatrics and adults with learning disabilities, including specialist skills in autism, mental health disorders, challenging behaviour, Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Sensory Integration. She has been a Registered Intermediary since January 2014, working with both children and adults with a range of communication needs arising from learning disabilities and mental health disorders. She has provided HMCTS Appointed Intermediary services in a range of jurisdictions since 2018. Louise was a founding member of The Intermediary Cooperative and has served as a Director of Quality Assurance and within Business Development for the cooperative.

Neurodivergence in the Justice System

Our webinar series, 'Neurodivergence in the Justice System', has covered a range of practice areas, recounting the experiences and examining the challenges faced by neurodivergent people involved in the justice system in England and Wales, whether as witnesses, defendants, lawyers or otherwise. These webinars have brought together experts from legal practice, academia, policy and other professionals to consider the flaws in the current system, identify instances of best practice and propound changes that could be made to improve access to justice, equality and diversity in the courts. Our previous webinars in the series are available here.

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