City Research Online

Intermediaries in the criminal justice system and the ‘neutrality paradox’

Taggart, J. (2022). Intermediaries in the criminal justice system and the ‘neutrality paradox’. Journal of Law and Society, 49(2), pp. 339-361. doi: 10.1111/jols.12361


The intermediary special measure was introduced by the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA) to assist vulnerable witnesses to give evidence in court. This article focuses on the role's relationship with its underpinning value of neutrality. Findings from 31 interviews with intermediaries in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as judges in Northern Ireland, suggest that this aspect of the role is problematic and deserves critical examination. Though there is a broad commitment to neutrality among intermediaries, the role's practice reveals latent tensions and contradictions that contribute towards what I term the ‘neutrality paradox’. This article uses the Bourdieusian concept of ‘illusio’ as an explanatory tool to examine deviations from the normative expectation of neutrality. It focuses on how intermediaries experience and conceptualize their own neutrality and explores how this can aid understanding of the role's scope and position within the criminal justice system.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of theCreative Commons AttributionLicense, which permits use, distribution and reproduc-tion in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2022 The Author.Journal of Law and Societypublished by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Cardiff University.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Journal of Clinical Nursing - 2022 - Bowden - Effectiveness of cognitive interventions for adult surgical patients after.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

Download (2MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login