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Interpreting and reframing the appropriate adult safeguard

Dehaghani, Roxanna ORCID: 2022. Interpreting and reframing the appropriate adult safeguard. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 42 (1) , pp. 187-206. 10.1093/ojls/gqab029

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The appropriate adult (AA) safeguard is an important procedural safeguard that can be implemented to protect vulnerable suspects at the police investigative stage of the criminal process. The safeguard is available for young suspects (below the age of 18) and adult suspects (who are defined as vulnerable) and can be performed by a vast array of individuals. It is intended to protect evidence, enable effective participation, and avoid miscarriages of justice. However, the safeguard lacks an underpinning conceptual framework; it is, and can, be interpreted in multiple ways, thus undermining its efficacy. Drawing upon doctrinal and socio-legal analysis, this paper examines how the safeguard is – and crucially, can be – conceptualised. It is argued that, although it is used principally as an evidential safeguard, the appropriate adult could be reimagined through the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC), with a specific focus on allowing for effective participation of the vulnerable suspect.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ)
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0143-6503
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 August 2021
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 11:26

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