The Equality and Human Rights Commission wants to understand the experiences of disabled defendants or accused in the criminal justice system. People who are charged with a criminal offence are called ‘defendants’ in England and Wales, and ‘accused’ in Scotland.
They will look at whether the needs of these defendants or accused are properly identified and whether adjustments are put in place to meet their needs, so they are able to take part fully in court processes. Their work will cover England, Scotland and Wales.
The inquiry covers the ‘pre-trial’ stage, which is after a person has been charged, but before a trial begins. Our main focus is to look at access to justice for people with cognitive impairments (problems with a person’s thinking, communication, understanding or memory), mental health conditions and neuro-diverse conditions, including autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).