Professor Chris Gillberg

Christopher Gillberg is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, since the mid-1980s. He heads the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre. He is also a Chief Physician at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and one of the world’s most experienced, clinically active, child- and adolescent psychiatrists, with over 40 years of extensive clinical work in treatment of patients and families with complex psychiatric/neurodevelopmental problems.

Christopher Gillberg is the most productive autism researcher in the world, and is on Thomson Reuter´s 2014 list of the world´s most influential researchers (all fields). In 2016, he was presented with the prestigious INSAR Lifetime Achievement Award for his research in autism.


Kathryn Bruderer

Kathryn Bruderer is the Divisional Equality Manager for the North West region of the National Probation Service (NPS), covering Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and Lancashire. The NPS priority is to protect the public by the effective rehabilitation of high risk offenders, by tackling the causes of offending and enabling offenders to turn their lives around. Kathryn leads on the NW strategy for equality and diversity, delivering a number of key workstreams which improve the experiences of staff and service users.

Since 2016, Kathryn has been leading on a pilot project with the National Autistic Society, working towards autism accreditation against a number of standards which demonstrate best practice in working with offenders with ASC. If successful, the NPS NW will be the first probation service ever to be awarded NAS accreditation.

Working in partnership with NAS, the project has included environmental audits of NPS premises; service user engagement; staff learning and development; production of toolkits and resources to support staff in their approach; partnership development; and improvements to monitoring systems, Kathryn is also working on strategies to improve the service for offenders with learning disabilities, difficulties and other communication barriers.

Kathryn has wide ranging experience in the equalities field, previously specialising as an equality consultant and trainer working with a diverse range of organisations , including NHS trusts, police and probation services, higher education, transport services, and national and local government. Kathryn has also managed a range of services with a diversity focus including advice, disability, and health and wellbeing. Kathryn was part of the team which set up the first London-wide Citizens Advice contact centre, increasing access to advice and information, and is passionate about ensuring that equality and accessibility are at the heart of services.

Dr. Arun Chidambaram

Dr Arun Chidambaram completed MD Psychiatry in 2004, specialist training in Forensic Psychiatry in 2010 and obtained a postgraduate certificate in healthcare leadership in 2016. He has completed Nye Bevan executive leadership course with NHS Leadership Academy in October 2017.

Arun was appointed as Deputy Medical Director in Calderstones NHS Trust in October 2015. In August 2016, he was appointed as Deputy Medical Director in Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. He is the medical lead for Centre for Perfect Care team. This team leads on a number of ambitious goals like zero suicide and zero restraints. He is also leading on a work stream within the Trust to implement Just and Learning Culture intended to create a healthy environment that champions patient safety.

Arun has taken on the role of clinical lead from June 2017 for a partnership project in the northwest with three NHS providers and two independent sector providers to implement new models of care in forensic services.

He is currently working with Forensic PD and ASD Team and with the Autism team in Merseycare Whalley (previously Calderstones). His forensic practice involves a wide spectrum of disorders – Mental illness, PD, LD & ASD within secure services, prison and community.

He is a sitting member of Royal College Standard Setting Panel and an approved CASC examiner. He is a trained Case Investigator for Revalidation Support Team as well as NCAS. He is an approved College Assessor for Appointments Committee. He is a trained lead reviewer for Quality Network for Forensic services.

Gail Spruce

Gail Spruce is an Inspector with Greater Manchester Police and has been a Police Officer for 25 years. Gail interests has always been focussed on the right and proportionate Criminal Justice outcomes for offenders which led to her launching Restorative Justice as a disposal within GMP and writing national policy on the subject .

More recently Gail has worked within GMPs Custody branch which has involved a focus on the rights of children, close working with the Howard League for Penal Reform and writing policy for the Home Office around the management of child detainees.

Following the thread of recognising individual needs and appropriate management of detainees, Gail has recently undertaken to train all of GMPs Custody staff in “Autism Awareness”, aiming to both increase recognition of detainees who have, or may have, the condition as well as exploring appropriate support services on their release from detention. GMPs newly written Custody Autism Strategy is evolving at this time but she is already sharing good practice with other local forces.

Gail is married to a soon- to – be retired Inspector – and has one daughter Molly – who remains confused that her Mum really is in the police but seems to do a lot of computer work instead of driving around with flashing lights !


Professor Penny Cooper 

Professor Cooper is a world-leading expert on witness intermediaries and accommodations in court for vulnerable people, including those with autism. She undertakes cases concerning:

  • Effective participation and human rights of vulnerable witnesses/ parties.
  • Procedural justice for children and vulnerable adults.
  • Due process when a witness or party has autism.

She is known for having “revolutionised the way in which courts approach vulnerable people” through her research and academic work and has been described as “the guru” on special measures.

Professor Cooper designed and pioneered the well- known and successful English witness intermediary role as well as the ground rules hearing approach, now written into court rules on her recommendation. She also co-founded and has led since inception the internationally renowned resource known as The Advocate’s Gateway (‘TAG’). Her publications and TAG have been cited on multiple occasions in the Court of Appeal and High Court. A High Court Judge referred to her cross-examination in court as “a model of its kind”. She has advised and taught in over ten jurisdictions around the world and in 2016 gave evidence to the Royal Commission in Sydney as an invited expert. As a result, in 2017, the Royal Commission recommended witness intermediaries for the whole of Australia. She has written official guidance for and trained all the accredited intermediaries in England, Northern Ireland and New South Wales, Australia.

She has written in total over one hundred and fifty articles, books and book chapters on procedural fairness, vulnerable witnesses, advocacy and autism. She co-edits the leading textbook in her field. She provides specialist legal and expert opinion to law firms, policy makers, judges and government bodies in numerous jurisdictions.

Selected recent publications:

Cooper, P. & Norton, H. (Eds.) Vulnerable People and the Criminal Justice System: A Guide to Law and Practice. (OUP, 2017).

Cooper, P. & Mattison, M. (2017). Intermediaries, vulnerable people and the quality of evidence: An international comparison of three versions of the English intermediary model. The International Journal of Evidence and Proof. 21(4) 351–370.

Allely, C. & Cooper, P. (2017). Jurors’ and Judges’ Evaluation of Defendants with Autism and the Impact on Sentencing: A Systematic PRISMA Review of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Courtroom.  Journal of Law and Medicine. 25 JLM 1.

Cooper, P., & Allely, C. (2017). You can’t judge a book by its cover: Evolving professional responsibilities, liabilities and ‘judgecraft’ when a party has Asperger’s Syndrome. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. 68 (1), 35–58.

Cooper, P., Backen, P., & Marchant, R. (2015). Getting to grips with Ground Rules Hearings – a checklist for judges, advocates and intermediaries. Criminal Law Review. 6, 420-435.

Cooper, P., & Wurtzel, D., (2014). Better the second time around? Department of Justice Registered Intermediaries Schemes and lessons from England and Wales. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. 65(1), 39-61.

Cooper, P. (2014). Speaking when they are spoken to: Hearing vulnerable witnesses in care proceedings. Child and Family Law Quarterly. 26(2), 132-151.

Case commentaries:

Cooper, P. (2018). R. v Grant-Murray and another; R. v McGill & Ors. Criminal Law Review. (In press)

Cooper, P. (2017). R. v S. Criminal Law Review. 12, 982 -987.

Cooper, P (2017). R. v Mulindwa. Criminal Law Review. 12, 979 – 982.


Detective Superintendent Jon Betts

Jon joined Greater Manchester Police in 1995 and enjoyed a wide variety of uniform and CID roles throughout Manchester before transferring to Cheshire Constabulary in 2007. Since joining Cheshire Jon’s roles have included Head of Crime Operations, Director of Intelligence, Local Policing Command and Serious & Organised Crime.  He has experience at both regional and national level working alongside government and senior partners developing organisational change.

At the end of 2016 Jon was appointed Head of Criminal Justice and Custody for Cheshire Constabulary.  Jon is leading work in force to better understand the experience of people with autism whether they be staff, victims, witnesses or suspects.

“I want to ensure that Cheshire Police is an inclusive employer for people with autism and those who care for someone with autism.  Similarly I want to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged should they come into contact with the criminal justice system.  It is imperative that whether an individual is a victim, witness or suspect that they receive fair treatment and justice.  I want to ensure this by building greater understanding of autism across our organisation and criminal justice partners and by adjusting some of our working practices to ensure that they’re inclusive.  To have the academic rigour of the University of Salford supporting our thinking is fantastic and I’m delighted to be working with them on this project.”


Sally Kennedy

Ms Sally Kennedy is a PhD Candidate in Criminology at Deakin University (Victoria, Australia) specialising in transnational justice administration in national courts. Her current research involves a comparative study via legal case analysis of extradition procedures within Australia, Canada and the United States to illustrate issues reconciling an international agreement under existing domestic legislation. Her previous research involved an examination of the relationship between transnational online offending, extradition, and autism. This highlighted the reluctance of national courts to shift the trial forum despite claims the negative impacts of autism were sufficient to halt surrender on human rights grounds. She has also researched the implementation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and its impact and relevance for foreign nationals accused of crime in the United States.


Nick Dublin

Nicolas (Nick) Dubin was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2004. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Oakland University, a Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of Detroit Mercy, and a Specialist Degree in Psychology and Psy.D. from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. He has authored many books on autism spectrum disorders including ‘Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety’, also published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is dedicated to helping those individuals on the autism spectrum receive due process and justice within the criminal justice system.

Professor Lawrence A. Dublin

A professor of law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law since 1975. Lawrence A. Dublin teaches courses in legal ethics and litigation. He was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to be a member of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission from 1978 to 1986, serving at times as its their. Prof. Dublin served for many years on the State Bar of Michigan’s standing committee on Grievance and is current the co-chair for the State Bar’s Lawyers and Judges Assistance Committee. He has authored books on the subject of legal ethics, evidence and trial practice and has written many articles on the subject of legal ethics. An invited guest on radio and television programmes, Prof. Dublin is also a frequent media commentator on legal matters and is often quoted in the local and national press. The State Bar of Michigan has twice awarded him the Wade H. McCree, Jr., Award for the Advancement of Justice for his public television programmes and in 2018 it awarded him the John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award.]


Ian Warren

Ian Warren is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. His research interests focus on questions of due process in domestic and transnational criminal justice administration. He has written on diverse criminological topics, including illicit drug regulation, extradition, private security regulation, and transnational online crime and policing issues.