Responding to communication needs in the justice system

"Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems"

Our first book “Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” was published by Wildy, Simmonds and Hall.

This publication arises from our hugely successful inaugural International Conference of the same title in June 2015. The book presents a selection of papers taken from speakers at the conference – all of whom are considered experts in their respective fields.

The work of the authors represents much of the current state of knowledge in these areas, and also, evidence of a great change in how vulnerable people are treated in the justice system.

“Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” is available to be purchased via this link.

The Advocate’s Gateway looks forward to its third international conference in the summer of 2019. For further details please visit:


The book consists of a number of papers which were presented at our 2015 international conference; details as follows:

Dr Jacqueline Wheatcroft University of Liverpool -  Avoiding Miscarriages of Justice

Dr Andreas O’Shea Vitoria International Chambers, Malta - Accused in International Criminal Trials: invulnerable?

Felicity Gerry QC 36 Bedford Row - Vulnerable witnesses and parties in all Civil Proceedings – dignity, respect and The Advocate’s Gateway Toolkit 17

Dr Sue O’Rourke & Clare Wade Clinical Psychologist and Sign Language Interpreter; Garden Court chambers - Making special measures special; reasonable adjustments for deaf witnesses and defendants

Dr Brendan O’Mahony University of Portsmouth - How effective are judges and counsel at facilitating communication with vulnerable persons in a criminal trial?

Professor Penny Cooper Chair of The Advocate's Gateway - Valuable lessons and poor relations. Comparing the English criminal and family justice systems' approaches to vulnerable and intimidated witnesses.

Charles Geekie QC Garden Court chambers - Poor relations? Vulnerable in the family courts

Connor Gillespie Bar Library, Belfast - Does the adversarial system operate against the best interests of a vulnerable defendant?

Dr Michelle Mattison University of Chester - Putting theory into practice: A comparison of the guidance available to investigative interviewers and advocates when using communication aids in the criminal justicesystem

Jenny Talbot, OBE - Prison Reform Trust Vulnerable Voices 

Book launch

On the evening of the 8th June, the ATC and Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing hosted a reception at Wildy's bookshop in Lincoln’s Inn to mark the launch of Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems.

The Hon. Mr Justice Green and one of the editors, Professor Penny Cooper, gave key-note addresses reminding all attendees how the book came to fruition and the significance of the work of the Advocate's Gateway (TAG). 

Mr Justice Green said: "TAG came about because there was a pressing need for judges and practitioners to have access to information on how to deal with vulnerable witnesses. That need was urgent in view of the existence of a number of high profile sexual grooming cases in the Crown Court which had gone badly wrong and which had led to a bright public spotlight being shone on the issue of the fair and proper treatment of vulnerable persons in the Courts.

In the space of only 3 years, the team have helped creating this book, new materials and toolkits that are available online and have become absolutely essential for any advocate or lawyer or judge who is dealing with a vulnerable witness in a court environment; these are now also being adopted and used in jurisdictions around the world."

Guests included Sir James Munby, The Hon Mr Justice Charles Haddon-Cave, HHJ Michael Topolski QC, Professor David Ormerod QC and HHJ Peter Rook QC.

Some images from the launch

Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems - group photo of authors

Book authors Professor Penny Cooper & Linda Hunting
Wildy's Dr Brian Hill presents the book at the launch
Book launch attendees

Images courtesy of Paul Clark

Book reviews

Press coverage


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