Effective Participation and Fitness to Plead (Online)

Forging a new approach to trial competence

This booking page is for the Online session. To book the In Person session please click here.

Assessing a defendant’s fitness to plead, to stand trial and to give evidence carries with it many challenges – but getting it right is essential for fair trials, access to justice and the administration of justice. What options are available to the stakeholders – judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors, health professionals and communication assistants – to address the effective participation of defendants?

Following on from the well-received 2021 seminar Fitness to Stand Trial: A Practical Guide and offering multidisciplinary perspectives, this seminar will analyse the Court of Appeal’s decision in Hanara, look at issues arising as regards effective participation in the criminal justice system, and delve into practical ways in which the defendant’s interests – and therefore justice – can be better served.

Who Should Attend?

All those practising in Criminal law. Other professionals working in this area, such as communication assistants, psychiatrists and psychologists, might find it valuable.

Learning Outcomes

  • Become better informed about the decision in and implications of Hanara v R [2022] NZCA 608 and Maaka-Wanahi v Attorney-General [2023] NZHC 187.
  • Gain a better appreciation of the case-specific challenges that arise when assessing fitness to plead.
  • Benefit from insights into practical ways in which access to justice for defendants, and thus appropriate outcomes, can be achieved – including how Police and lawyers can better interact with clients; early collaboration with prosecutors about disclosure; the role of judges in pre-trial matters and case reviews; when to involve other professionals such as health assessors and communication assistants; and the potential for the appointment of counsel to assist.
  • Improve your understanding of the impact of legal matters such as legal professional privilege and hearsay issues, and of practical issues such as housing and safety, in this context.

Presenter Details

Julie-Anne Kincade KC, Augusta Chambers

Robin McCoubrey, Partner, Meredith Connell

Professor Warren Brookbanks, Law School, AUT

Dr Jeremy Skipworth, Forensic Psychiatrist, Waitemata District Health Board

Sally Kedge, Director and Communication Assistant, Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ

Commentator: The Honourable Justice Collins


Pricing Details

CPD Hours

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