Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

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Volume 6 Issue 3 (September 1996), Pages 199-296

A review of the role of the legal adviser in police stations (pages 231-239)


This article undertakes a brief review of research concerning the frequency and the quality of legal advice provided in police stations in England and Wales. In particular it examines the various definitions and actual nature of the role of the legal adviser. Studies indicate that the presence of legal advisers has increased since the introduction of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), although a number of studies have experienced difficulty in determining the actual status of advisers. Many legal advisers are not qualified solicitors and their ability to advise their clients has been called into question. The finding that many advisers adopt a passive or compliant role is discussed in relation to the inflexible definition of their role under PACE which, it is argued, fails to reflect the welfare and emotional needs of the client. The question of ‘fitness for interview’, which psychiatrists and forensic medical examiners are increasingly being asked to decide, is used as an example of the additional demands made on legal advisers that are not reflected under PACE. It is recommended that the definition of the role of the legal adviser under PACE is amended to reflect these demands. Copyright © 1996 Whurr Publishers Ltd.

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