Trauma Informed Lawyering

Lawyers working with children in the criminal justice system need to be aware of trauma and its effects, to be able to identify its impact and, if necessary, to draw it to the attention of decision-makers. In this seminar discussing our legal guide on Trauma Informed Lawyering in the youth justice system, find out more about what trauma-informed lawyering is and why it matters from leading youth justice experts.

This seminar took place on 29th April 2021. For more detailed practical advice and information, check out our full legal guide on Trauma-Informed Lawyering.


Professor Felicity Gerry QC

Professor Felicity Gerry QC is an international QC at Libertas Chambers, London and Crockett Chambers, Melbourne. Felicity has a particular interest in homicide law including murder and manslaughter especially multi defendant cases applying the law on complicity. She was leading counsel in R v Jogee which corrected an error of law in joint enterprise. She has also advised in relation to death penalty matters in Indonesia and the Philippines, on citizens held in Syrian camps and on complicity in international cases involving torture. Felicity has over 25 years’ experience of cases involving allegations of sexual offending and is a co-author of The Sexual Offences Handbook (3rd Edition forthcoming). She has been involved in the development of advocacy toolkits for questioning vulnerable witnesses and vulnerable defendants.

Felicity is also a Professor of Legal Practice at Deakin University. She has a long history of cases and research on human trafficking / modern slavery. Most recently she has written a two-part series entitled ‘Trauma-informed courts’ for the New Law Journal on why being trauma-informed is an issue for court integrity.

Aswini Weereratne QC

Aswini is Queen’s Counsel at Doughty Street Chambers. Her expertise focuses on the protection of the most vulnerable, including children, usually because of mental disability or abuse and exploitation, through litigation and advisory work with an emphasis on human rights. She utilises her skills in a wide range of practice areas and cases concerning public and private law issues, welfare and medical treatment cases in the Court of Protection, actions against state bodies, for example, assault and unlawful detention claims, non-recent child abuse claims, inquests and inquiries, reporting restrictions and international law.

Aswini also has extensive experience of investigatory procedures, in public inquiries, inquests, and as an independent chair of inquiries, tribunals and professional regulatory bodies. She has chaired six independent homicide inquiries. She appears in courts and tribunals at all levels, including the Supreme Court.

Dr Sinéad Marriot

Sinéad’s areas of expertise are looked after and adopted children, PTSD and complex trauma, conduct disorder and neurone elopement also disorders in children with attachment difficulties. Sinéad provides individual treatment using EMDR and Trauma Focused CBT as well as behavioural interventions for managing challenging behaviours. In addition to working at GOSH Dr Marriott provides psychological reports for adolescents and young adults within the criminal justice system.

Sinéad has published on the assessment and treatment of PTSD in children, the assessment and treatment of complex trauma in children affected by domestic homicide and psychotherapy with young offenders.

Melissa Rutherford

Melissa is a director at Rutherford Sheridan Solicitors and criminal advocacy tutor at Strathclyde University. She specialises in criminal defence and immigration. Melissa has experience of family law, conducting proofs at the sheriff court, along with representing clients at children's referral proceedings, particularly representing children. She is an advocate of being trauma aware and attempting to change attitudes to Aces and trauma in the legal system and is the co-founder of Trauma Aware Lawyers in Scotland. Melissa was a trustee of Join the Dots an organisation assisting those involved in the criminal justice system and is now a trustee with Indigo Childcare Charity that that seeks to provide a better start to Scotland’s children. She is also a mentor at iWiL, a mentorship programme for young women who aspire to be future leaders.

Shauneen Lambe (Chair)

Shauneen Lambe, co-author of the Trauma Informed Lawyering guide, is Director of Impact Law for Social Justice. She is co-founder and former CEO of Just for Kids Law (2005-2018), where she set up the Youth Justice Legal Centre in 2014 and now serves on the YJLC Advisory Board. A barrister in the UK and a practicing attorney in the USA where she helped Clive Stafford Smith set up Reprieve. Shauneen is a legal innovator dedicated to the law being a tool for social change and enjoys supporting ground-breaking social justice projects which she does through Impact and by supporting Justice First Fellows.

She is vice-chair of the Barings Foundation, a trustee of the Centre for Justice Innovation and on the advisory board of University of Liverpool Law Clinic.