Making History

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Last July, Karen Hobbs served as the UK’s first ever Deaf juror (who is a BSL user) in the Crown Court. This was due to the new legislation in June 2022 to allow Registered BSL/English Interpreters into the deliberation room.

History was made again last week when NRCPD registrants Kirsty Last and Lisa Guildford became one of the UK’s first Lipspeakers in the deliberation room. This came after a barrister for the court case contacted Lesley Weatherson, a NRCPD registered Lipspeaker, for advice regarding the possible booking of Lipspeakers in court.

The barrister needed advice on the current legislation because Lipspeakers, Speech to Text Reporters, Notetakers and Interpreters for Deafblind People are still not allowed in the deliberation room with a deaf juror. The law as it stands unfortunately only allows sign language interpreters in the deliberation room with a deaf juror.

However in this case, the barrister took the advice and information that Lesley Weatherson supplied about the Equality Act 2010 and the BSL Act 2022 to the Judge for the court case. The judge then made a ruling for this court case that Lipspeakers should be booked.

Kirsty Last adds: “the law needs to realise that it’s not a one-size fits all with deaf communication. Not all deaf people sign as we know and actually a very high number do lipread.”

All NRCPD registered professionals follow a code of Conduct and work to a strict code of confidentiality. This means that the integrity of the deliberations will not be compromised by having them in the room with the jurors.

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