Representing clients with intellectual disability
People with intellectual disability constitute approximately 2-3% of the Australian population.' They are disproportionately represented in the legal system due to their vulnerability to factors such as poverty, violence, social isolation, discrimination and exploitation.2 Nearly one-quarter (23.6%) of those appearing before six Local Courts in NSW in relation to criminal charges could be diagnosed as having an intellectual disability, with a further 14.1% of persons in the borderline range of ability.3 Given the likelihood of encountering clients with an intellectual disability, both an awareness of what this means and the necessary skills to represent them effectively are highly relevant to plaintiff lawyers.
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