Family Court Intermediaries

What is an Intermediary? 

An Intermediary is a trained professional who facilitates communication between parties, witnesses, and others in family court hearings, to ensure that communication is as complete, coherent, and accurate as possible. In turn, this will guarantee a fair hearing for clients. Their duty is specifically to the court and therefore, they always remain impartial and neutral within court proceedings and report only to the court. 

What is the purpose of an Intermediary? 

As a communication specialist, the Intermediary works on behalf of the court and provides support to people participating in a court hearing. They are impartial and provide recommendations to the court relating to a clients’ specific needs and outline the necessary steps needed to achieve them. 

An Intermediary will facilitate communication between all parties and facilitate clients’ participation within Court proceedings.  

The presence of Court intermediaries is designed to assist the Judge and the advocates and to ensure that a vulnerable client understands and can take part fully in the proceedings. In effect, they are a communication bridge between a vulnerable client and the Judge and advocates (solicitors and barristers). 

How is an Intermediary appointed? 

Intermediaries are appointed by the court. A solicitor/legal professional will usually identify whether an intermediary is necessary for proceedings. Judges may also identify the need for an intermediary. 

If communication needs or difficulties have been identified for a client, an Intermediary assessment should be arranged as soon as possible once the hearing date is known. This can help to avoid delays to the judicial process. 

How do Intermediaries assist in proceedings? 

Generally, Intermediaries assist clients with significant communication difficulties arising for example from a learning disability, physical disability, or mental health issues. They are also commonly used to assist children or young people. 

The Intermediary will undertake a detailed assessment of the vulnerable clients’ needs to help them understand and participate in the proceedings.  

The Intermediary will then meet with the client to prepare their assessment.  

The Court will approve what papers from the proceedings the Intermediary should be given. 

If the Intermediary determines that their services are required, they will attend various Court hearings and will assist the client by explaining documents and questions in simple, straightforward language. In some cases, the Intermediary will be necessary for a full trial. 

The Intermediary may sometimes be asked to attend appointments with a client and their legal team and it can then be confirmed that the client understands the proceedings and documents. 

The Intermediary will assist the advocate in simplifying any questions that may be put to the client at a contested Court hearing.  

They are an integral part of the court process, appointed on a case and client specific basis and can be necessary to assist some clients in the understanding of the court process. 

Contact us, we are here to help

For more information on Intermediaries, please contact Michael Boland of MSB Solicitors at