Defendants with autism spectrum disorders: What is the role of court liaison and diversion?

Eddie Chaplin, Jane McCarthy, Andrew Forrester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of liaison and diversion services working in the lower courts (also known as Magistrates’ courts) with regard to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their assessment, in particular, the role of pre-sentence and psychiatric reports and interviews. Design/methodology/approach: Current practice is described in the lower courts in the context of current legislation and procedures. Findings: When writing reports, there is a need for expertise to offer an opinion on future risk, disposal and what needs to be in place to support people with ASDs. No assumptions should be made when reporting on the basis of an ASD diagnosis alone and each case must be assessed on its individual merits while ensuring that individual human rights are protected. Originality/value: There is currently a sparse literature examining ASD in court settings. This paper seeks to clarify the current practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Autism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Criminal justice system
  • Liaison and diversion
  • Magistrates’ courts
  • Pre-sentence reports
  • Psychiatric reports


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