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What is a Communicourt Intermediary?
- AuthorAdarsh Patel
Communicourt is an intermediary service mostly funded by HMCTS, with no charges or payments required by parents or legal professionals. In the context of Care Proceedings, their aim is to assist a parent who has a communication difficulty which impairs their ability to understand and effectively participate in the proceedings. For this, each parent is assigned an intermediary.
When it comes to Care Proceedings, parents who have learning difficulties are not automatically entitled to an intermediary. The first step is for the Court to order an Intermediary Assessment. The Court will usually order such an assessment where an individual has engaged in a cognitive or cognitive and capacity assessment, where the expert in their conclusions, recommends that the individual would be assisted by the help of an intermediary. This is the main reason why the Court would direct an intermediary assessment and would form the basis of that individual’s application to the Court for such an assessment. The Court also has the discretion to direct such an assessment where they can see an individual suffers from serious learning or cognitive difficulties and it is obvious that an Intermediary Assessment is required.
The Intermediary Assessment
This assessment is conducted by Communicourt themselves, who will assess whether a person requires an intermediary, and if so, to what extent is the intermediary required and how they will help further that person’s understanding of the Court proceedings and their engagement. An Intermediary Assessment will set out exactly the difficulties that person has, such as their lack of ability to provide clear instructions, inability to understand legal jargon, or difficulties in reading and writing. This is key to ensure that not the assigned intermediary, but all professionals communicate with that person in an effective manner.
The Role of the Intermediary
If an individual’s Intermediary Assessment concludes that an intermediary is required, an application will be made by that individual’s legal team for an intermediary to attend all hearings and conferences with the individual. The Court will make such a direction. Thereafter, an intermediary will attend all hearings and conferences to ensure that the individual understands the process they are involved in, what is being said by legal professionals, can understand what decisions are being made, and make informed decisions when giving instructions to their solicitor. The intermediary’s sole job is to ensure the individual understands what is happening. They are there only for the benefit of that individual.
Where an individual must give evidence in a Court hearing, the intermediary will assess if any ground rules are required. These ground rules will ensure that the individual is always able to engage with the proceedings and give evidence to the best of their ability. These ground rules could include regular breaks and that any questions to be asked of the induvial are provided to the intermediary beforehand to ensure that they have been worded in a simple and appropriate manner.
How can Johnson Astills Help?
If the Local Authority have issued Care Proceedings in relation to your children, then we may be able to help. Please get in touch with Johnson Astills today and we would be more than happy to discuss your requirements further. Please call us at our office in Leicester on 0116 255 4855 or our office in Loughborough on 01509 610 312 and ask to speak to a member of the Care Team. Alternatively, you may prefer to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our enquiry form.