Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for Sefton Central on 5 February 2019 Official Report column 159, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adopting the system of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder courts used in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Holding answer received on 12 February 2019

My Department has not previously made an assessment of adopting the system of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder courts used in Manitoba.

Courts already make special arrangements for defendants with learning disabilities by adapting the trial process to address their specific communication and other needs. We take this approach for defendants with a variety of special needs; it is generally preferable to specialised courts which create inflexibility in the system, slow down court processes and can negatively impact other court users facing different challenges and vulnerabilities. We are working with NHS England and others to ensure that needs are identified early in the criminal justice process and offenders have access to the right treatment and support once they have been through the courts.

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