Is the 'Appropriate Adult' appropriate?

Bethany A'Court, Paul McKeown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


It is recognised that children are particularly vulnerable within the criminal justice system and therefore should be afforded ‘appropriate assistance’ pursuant to Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Within England and Wales, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 states that all individuals under the age of 18 must be provided with an appropriate adult to provide advice and assistance, facilitate communication and ensure the child is being treated fairly. This chapter considers whether the appropriate adult, who can be a family member, social worker or volunteer, is appropriate to safeguard the child’s rights, entitlements and welfare whilst they are in police custody. The chapter will examine whether lawyers, as a consequence of their legal knowledge and skills, are better placed to protect the interests of a child in police custody, and if so, whether the role of the appropriate adult should be redefined to support the child’s emotional welfare and facilitate their relationship with the lawyer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Rights and Legal Services for Children and Youth
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Perspectives
EditorsAsha Bajpai, David W. Tushaus, Mandava Rama Krishna Prasad
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jan 2023


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