What Is An Intermediary? Why Do I Need One?

Intermediaries in court proceedings

‘What is an intermediary? Why do I need one?’ Family Law Solicitor Jo Taylor discusses in her latest blog….

An intermediary may be required by anyone who is vulnerable and may need support or special measures to enable you to participate fully in Court proceedings and ensure your voice is heard.

Who Needs An Intermediary?

There are a number of situations where an intermediary is required. This could be due to age; physical difficulty eg impaired sight or hearing loss; mental health difficulty; where English is not your first language; or other reasons.

In cases where a child is a witness and required to give evidence an intermediary assessment will always be needed.

It is the responsibility of a solicitor to identify if they believe their client is a vulnerable person and requires an intermediary assessment. An intermediary assessment is often recommended by psychologists when they have undertaken a cognitive assessment.

What Is An Intermediary Assessment?

Intermediary assessments are needed to assess your individual communication needs and abilities specifically in relation to communication within Court proceedings.

An intermediary is both impartial and neutral and the assessment will address how you can take part fully in the proceedings, understand what is happening and communicate effectively.

The intermediary’s role is to provide advice to professionals on how you are able to communicate, your level of understanding and how it would be best to question you if you give evidence.

How Is The Application Made And What Happens Next?

An application should be made promptly to the Court by your solicitor. Once an assessment has taken place the Court will list the case for a participation hearing (ground rules hearing).

The Court service will be responsible for paying for an intermediary assessment and for arranging and funding any attendance of an intermediary at Court.

What Will Be Decided At The Hearing?

1. Identify your communication issues/needs and how they can be addressed
2. Whether the questions to be put to you in evidence should be given in advance to the intermediary to consider
3. How questions should be asked
4. How long the questions will last
5. Who will ask the questions
6. Breaks – how long and how often

Further Help

If you have any questions or queries regarding intermediaries, please contact me or one of the team on freephone 0800 011 6666 or via email at legal@timms-law.com.


Jo Taylor
September 2022


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