Intermediaries for child defendants

Lawyers representing children in the criminal courts need to recognise when a child defendant may require an intermediary and know how to ensure that the child gets one. In this seminar discussing our legal guide on Intermediaries for child defendants, find out practical guidance to assist you in navigating the legal resources and caselaw relevant to this often misunderstood niche area of work from leading youth justice experts.

This seminar took place on 8 October 2020. For more detailed practical advice and information, check out our full legal guide on Intermediaries for child defendants.


Professor Laura Hoyano
Barrister at Red Lion Chambers and Senior Research Fellow at Wadham College, University of Oxford

Professor Laura Hoyano has an international reputation for her empirical and doctrinal work on vulnerable witnesses and defendants. Laura is a practising barrister, consultant to governments and statutory bodies, has written the chapter of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice on special measures since 2012 and is a leading authority on all forms of legal redress for child abuse and sexual offences.

With unparalleled knowledge on the legal predicament of vulnerable defendants, and the interplay with the international rights of the child, Laura offers unique insight into intermediaries, who she describes as the ‘most innovative measure for vulnerable witnesses in the common law world’.

Dr Brendan O’Mahony
Forensic psychologist and registered intermediary

Brendan is a Forensic Psychologist in independent practice and a Registered Intermediary at the Ministry of Justice. He has extensive experience of assessing communication needs, advising the court and facilitating communication at court between lawyers and vulnerable complainants and defendants. He is passionate about enabling police interviewers to Achieve Best Evidence by increasing their knowledge about intellectual disabilities and mental health and how to adapt communication for these vulnerable groups of interviewees. He regularly works with police interviewers and vulnerable complainants. He has published a number of academic papers and book chapters about intermediaries.

Joel Bennathan QC
Queen’s Counsel at Doughty Street Chambers

Joel Bennathan QC has an established defence practice in serious crime.

A significant part of his work consists of appeals to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the Privy Council, and the European Court of Human Rights. Joel offers a wealth of experience in trials and appeals that include child defendants and intermediaries, including R v Jordan Dixon, in which the Court of Appeal acknowledged failures to accommodate the needs of a vulnerable child defendant as ‘regrettable’.

Joanne Cecil
Barrister at Garden Court Chambers

Joanne Cecil is a leading criminal defence barrister with a wealth of experience in representing children. She is renowned for having been instructed in many test cases relating to children in the criminal justice system which have resulted in significant changes in the law. Prior to working as a barrister in the UK, Jo was instrumental in the fight against the use of the death penalty for under-18s in the US which culminated in the case of Roper v Simmons which abolished the death penalty for those who were juveniles at the time they committed an offence.

Joanne acted in Just for Kids Law’s case R v TI, a leading High Court case on intermediaries for children. Jo can provide invaluable insight into this case and the promise it holds for other vulnerable children who may require intermediaries in the future.

Katya Moran (Chair)
Co-Head of the Youth Justice Legal Centre

Katya co-runs the Youth Justice Legal Centre at Just for Kids Law. She is a specialist youth justice lawyer with several years’ experience representing children in criminal proceedings and maintains a busy independent practice in the police station and youth court. Katya oversees the development of YJLC’s interactive legal training programme, writes best practice legal guides on youth justice issues and regularly delivers lectures and training on youth justice.