The role of a CA
Communication Assistants are communication specialists appointed by the Court to assess and support people who need assistance with effectively communicating and participating in the judicial process.
Our Communication Assistants have been engaged in over 100 cases within New Zealand Courts, including Family, Youth, Matariki, District and High Courts.
All current CA’s are experienced Speech Language Therapists first, experts in the field of Communication Development and intervention. They then receive on the job side by side specialist training and mentoring in the field of assistance in Justice Contexts.
The role of a Communication Assistant is to assess vulnerable people who are in need of support with communication in order to provide advice and assistance to lawyers, police and judges. Following submission of a comprehensive report outlining accommodations and strategies when interacting with that person, they are then engaged to facilitate two-way communication between the identified witness or defendant and others in the justice process: police, legal teams, victim support service, and/or court.
CA’s are independent officers of the Court appointed under the same section (s.80 Evidence Act 2006) as interpreters, although the responsibilities of the role extend far wider. Communication Assistants are sworn in as officers of the Court and hold a neutral role in proceedings.