Recent Legal Developments – The Use of Intermediaries in Criminal Trials – Comment from Philip Hannon Solicitors

Philip Hannon Solicitors has participated in several cases involving vulnerable persons accused of serious or sexual offences. We welcome the increased use of Court Appointed intermediaries to ensure that vulnerable persons are enabled where possible to engage in the court process with the assistance of a dedicated intermediary who can accommodate their individual requirements in engagements with the court and with lawyers.

We note the announcement today, 4 May 2022 by Minister Helen McEntee of a new part time diploma to be run by University of Limerick and the Department of Justice and Equality to train Intermediaries to support vulnerable persons involved in criminal trials in Ireland. The Course is a part time diploma in Intermediary studies which will lead to a qualification as a Registered Intermediary who will assist Victims and persons including witnesses and accused persons in their interactions with the legal system.

We note that Minister McEntee’s press release mentions the possibility of Intermediaries to be employed to assist interactions between lawyers and witnesses during trial or, earlier during Garda interviews. We will be interested to see how this development is progressed and whether legislation will be enacted to give a vulnerable witness or accused person  the right to access an  independent Intermediary in the future.