Frequently Asked Questions
What does 'Referrals' status mean ?
New: The referral hasn't been submitted yet to Communicourt for approval . The solicitor is still able to view & modify the referral in this state.
Referral sent: The referral is now been submitted to Communicourt for approval. The solicitor will not be able to do any modifications whilst the referral is in this state.
Referral received: The referral is now being reviewed by Communicourt.
Approved: The referral has been reviewed and accepted for further processing by Communicourt.
What does 'Assessment Bookings' status mean ?
Quotation Sent: The quote for assessment bookings has been sent to Solicitor for their acceptance.
Acceptance received: Communicourt has now received your funding documents and these are being reviewed.
Sales Order: Communicourt has now reviewed your assessment booking, and all funding is in place for the assessment. An assessment date will be offered shortly.
What does 'Post-Assessments' status mean ?
Quotation Sent: The quotation for court bookings has been sent to recipient Solicitor for their acceptance. Note: No booking is confirmed until it has the Sales Order Status
Acceptance Received: Communicourt has now received your acceptance of the quote and is being reviewed. We will check that all documents have been completed correctly and then check if we have availability to cover your court dates.
Sales Order: Communicourt has performed necessary checks and accepted your booking.
What is the normal process ?
You submit a referral through Communicourt portal
We send you a quotation for assessment
Once you have funding you upload this to the referral using your login
Communicourt books one of our specialist intermediaries for an assessment for your client
Written report will follow within 7 days of the assessment date.
If the assessment finds that the vulnerable person would benefit from the assistance of an intermediary at court, Communicourt will then provide booking forms for any dates you have made us aware of.
These must be signed (by the court) and returned so that Communicourt can then book an intermediary for court.
Do you provide a service where the judge has approved the use of an intermediary ‘only at the point of giving evidence’?
If an intermediary assessment finds that the vulnerable person has difficulties with both receptive and expressive communication, Communicourt does not consider an “Evidence Only” service to be best practice.
This view is founded on our experience of working with over 7500 vulnerable people in the criminal and family courts.
People with difficulties understanding spoken language may not fully understand the evidence against them, may not be able to keep up with the pace of the trial, or become disengaged with the whole process due to fatigue and lacking key understanding.
These vulnerable people may also be expected to make an important decision (e.g. whether to accept a plea bargain, or whether or not to give evidence) that may not be fully informed.
Whilst Communicourt does not consider “evidence only” to be best practice, we will provide this kind of service if that is what the Judge decides is appropriate and fair.
In these circumstances, we recommend that an intermediary is present for the first day of trial, and for the afternoon on the day before the vulnerable person gives evidence. This is to build rapport, to have an opportunity for a Ground Rules Hearing before evidence, and to go through and check understanding of any evidence with the defendant and counsel.
An expert says my client would benefit from having an intermediary. Why do I need an intermediary assessment too ?
Whilst a psychology expert might flag up the need for an intermediary assessment, the intermediary will assess the communication needs of your client, test strategies to effectively facilitate communication, and make recommendations about how communication can be adapted to accommodate the needs of the vulnerable person in court.
How long will an intermediary assessment take ?
The assessment takes between 2 and 3 hours depending on the needs of the vulnerable person, who may need regular breaks.
Where will the assessment take place ?
Usually at the solicitor’s offices, but sometimes at another suitable professional environment such as a conference room at court.
If your client is in custody, the assessment will take place during a legal visit.
We do not visit people’s homes, foster placements or any other residential dwelling.