Representing clients with communication support needs in custody – A resource to accompany the SOLD Practice Guide for Defence Solicitors in Scotland

“I didn’t understand you could say ‘no comment’ when they asked you stuff.  I thought you had to answer all their questions straight away.  They had read me my rights, it’s just I didn’t really understand what they were saying to me, I just said ‘aye’” (Member of SOLD user group)

We published A Practice Guide For Defence Solicitors In Scotland: Representing Clients With Communication Support Needs, three years ago. Our principal aim is to help ensure that nobody in the justice system is at a disadvantage because they have a communication support need and the Practice Guide was developed to assist solicitors provide the best possible quality of service and legal representation to their clients who have communication support needs (CSN).

These cards have been produced with support from a speech and language therapist to compliment the Practice Guide. The idea is to augment verbal communication with a client by using visual aids. There are six sets of cards for various situations.

The aims are:

  • To help the accused person understand the custody process and what is going to happen.
  • To support the accused person’s ability to recall and articulate their version of what happened.
  • To assist the solicitor to take instructions and help the client maintain concentration.
  • To help the solicitor to gauge their clients’ stress levels and get a clearer impression of their communication ability.
  • To support the accused person to remember their legal rights.

How to use:

  • Download the cards onto an electronic device or print them off.
  • You might want to laminate or use sheet protectors.
  • Place the card somewhere they can easily be seen, like a table.
  • Take it slowly and give your client lots of time.
  • You may want to leave cards such as the ‘no comment’ card, visible to a client during an interview, as a reminder to them of their rights.


Whilst these have been developed with interactions between a person with CSN and their solicitor in mind, other people, such as Appropriate Adults, may find them helpful.


We want to know how these cards are used and if they are effective. We would be extremely grateful if you can complete our short questionnaire before or after you have used the cards. You can access it here

Alternatively, please get in touch with one of the SOLD development workers with your comments. Thanks.

You can download the cards here:

ABOUT Visual Support Cards


Identifying Support Needs


Check how your client is coping

Explaining what has been said

Explaining what will happen next

Visual Support Cards combined

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