Fitness to stand trial, human rights and possibilities from England and Wales

Jeanette Stewart, Mary Woodward, Flana Hepner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The capacity of individuals with disability, including cognitive or mental health impairments, to access justice on an equal basis has been considered recently in several Australian jurisdictions. Impairments can render individuals vulnerable in the legal system, affecting their reliability as a witness or their fitness to be tried, especially when limited support is available to help these individuals meet the test and criteria for fitness to stand trial. This article considers the situation in Australia in light of human rights perspectives and compares it with the England and Wales approach where special support measures have been introduced to help individuals access justice. The article recommends that better support measures be introduced in Australia that would be consistent with a human rights framework calling for support to enable individuals with disability to access justice. In particular, the introduction of intermediaries, as used in England and Wales, would go some way towards helping vulnerable individuals to access justice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)886-899
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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