Dr Rob George, a Barrister at Harcourt Chambers has recently written in his monthly column expressing his concern for the access to justice for autistic people. He noted that those that suffer with autism ‘comprise around 1% of the population, yet there is minimal knowledge about their treatment by the court system or how their condition may affect their access to justice. This is concerning, as many aspects of autism (such as inability to decode non-verbal cues or to understand non-literal language and subtext) render individuals with the condition vulnerable to being taken advantage of in negotiation or dispute settings. In addition, a departure from daily routine and lack of control of the situation can cause autistic individuals a great deal of distress.
In order to make improvements in the family courts, Dr George is to team up with psychologist Dr Anna Remmington in order to launch a new research project, aiming to better understand the experiences in court for those that suffer with autism. By communicating with autistic people that have had experience of being involved in family law proceedings and also professionals that have had experience representing them, the researchers hope to gain a better insight in order to make recommendations for future improvements and strategies to make justice more accessible for those people who are more vulnerable.
To read more about this research please visit the Family Law’s website.