Effective Participation and Fitness to Plead (In Person)

Forging a new approach to trial competence

This booking page is for the In Person session. To book the Online session please click here.

Assessing a defendant’s fitness to plead, to stand trial and to give evidence carries with it many challenges – but getting it right is essential for fair trials, access to justice and the administration of justice. What options are available to the stakeholders – judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors, health professionals and communication assistants – to address the effective participation of defendants?

Following on from the well-received 2021 seminar Fitness to Stand Trial: A Practical Guide and offering multidisciplinary perspectives, this seminar will analyse the Court of Appeal’s decision in Hanara, look at issues arising as regards effective participation in the criminal justice system, and delve into practical ways in which the defendant’s interests – and therefore justice – can be better served.

Who Should Attend?

All those practising in Criminal law. Other professionals working in this area, such as communication assistants, psychiatrists and psychologists, might find it valuable.

  • Become better informed about the decision in and implications of Hanara v R [2022] NZCA 608 and Maaka-Wanaki v Attorney-General [2023] NZHC 187.
  • Gain a better appreciation of the case-specific challenges that arise when assessing fitness to plead.
  • Benefit from insights into practical ways in which access to justice for defendants, and thus appropriate outcomes, can be achieved – including how Police and lawyers can better interact with clients; early collaboration with prosecutors about disclosure; the role of judges in pre-trial matters and case reviews; when to involve other professionals such as health assessors and communication assistants; and the potential for the appointment of counsel to assist.
  • Improve your understanding of the impact of legal matters such as legal professional privilege and hearsay issues, and of practical issues such as housing and safety, in this context.


Julie-Anne Kincade KC
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Julie-Anne Kincade was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1991. She worked as a criminal barrister in London until December 2005, prosecuting and defending all levels and types of serious criminal cases from Crown Court to appellate level.

After moving to New Zealand Julie-Anne was a Senior Solicitor at Meredith Connell from 2007 to 2013.

Since joining the independent bar in November 2013, she has been involved in a number of high-profile trials in New Zealand including the Mark Lundy hearings at all levels and the Dome Valley kidnapping trial.

She has been a Faculty member of the Litigation Skills course since 2015 and regularly presents seminars for criminal lawyers.

Julie-Anne regularly deals with witnesses giving evidence via AVL.

She is a Vice President of the The Law Association Council and Convenor of the The Law Association Criminal Law Committee.

Julie-Anne was a member of Blackstone Chambers in
Auckland from February 2016 to mid-2023 and is now a member of the newly-formed
Augusta Chambers.

Robin McCoubrey
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Robin is a partner at Meredith Connell.  Robin's experience includes prosecuting
trials of the utmost seriousness, including high-profile cases of homicide,
profit-driven organised criminal offending and serious sexual offending. He has
appeared in over 100 jury trials before the District and High Courts.  He also regularly appears for the Crown in
the Court of Appeal and has appeared in the Supreme Court.  He also has considerable experience acting in
proceeds of crime litigation, as well as advising and appearing for a number of
regulatory bodies.

Professor Warren Brookbanks
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Warren Brookbanks is a Professor of Criminal Law and Justice Studies and Director of the Centre for Non-Adversarial Justice   at AUT Law School. He was previously at Auckland Law School where he taught from 1983 to 2016. He is co-author of Bell & Brookbanks, Mental Health Law in New Zealand (3nd edn, (2017), Simester & Brookbanks, Principles of Criminal Law (5th edn, 2019) and Mackay & Brookbanks (eds), Fitness to Plead: International and Comparative Perspectives  (OUP, 2018), Mackay & Brookbanks (eds) The Insanity Defence   (OUP, 2022). In addition, he has co-authored or edited a number of books on forensic psychiatry and law, unfitness to stand trial, criminal justice and therapeutic jurisprudence together with numerous published articles.   In addition to overseeing undergraduate research he is involved in professional consultation and is a regular presenter at professional conferences and seminars.  

He was a founding Trustee of the Odyssey House Trust (NZ), a former President of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPPL) and former chair of the Oakley Mental Health Foundation Trust Board

Dr Jeremy Skipworth
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Jeremy is a Forensic Psychiatrist currently employed at the Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services, where he was Clinical Director from 2010-2019. He was previously Deputy Director of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health from 2004-2008. 

He is also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and has been a member of the New Zealand Parole Board since 2008, sitting on about 250 hearings for lifers and preventive detainees each year.  In addition to his medical qualifications, he has a Master’s degree and a PhD in areas of study relating to forensic psychiatry. 

He has also published a number of articles and book chapters in areas of academic interest including fitness to stand trial, insanity, prison psychiatry and forensic psychiatric rehabilitation.

Sally Kedge
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Sally Kedge is a speech-language therapist and court-appointed Communication Assistant. She is the Director of a social enterprise, Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ which is concerned with addressing the speech, language and communication needs of people involved with justice, care and protection, mental health and behaviour services. Sally is based in Auckland, New Zealand although the team of over 30 Talking Trouble specialist speech-language therapists work all over NZ providing therapeutic speech-language therapy services, professional and service development projects, and communication assistant roles in courts, Family Group Conferences and related settings.

Sally has worked in the UK and New Zealand as a speech-language therapist for 24 years, 20 of those in New Zealand, predominantly with children and young people. She has been involved research and clinical education at The University of Auckland and is an Honorary Academic there. She is an Expert Advisor to the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists' Association and later this year she will be one of twenty inaugural international Fellows at the Fair Access to Justice Hub Institute.



The Honourable Justice Collins
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Pricing Details

Ticket Price

Member: $190.00 GST

Non-Member: $270.00 GST


Registration Close Date