Professor Penny Cooper is a world-leading expert on the effective participation of witnesses. She provides expert opinion to law firms, policy makers, judges and government bodies in numerous jurisdictions. Her work includes:
- Witness preparation and familiarisation in complex and/or high value commercial and family cases
- Expert opinion evidence on the effective participation of witnesses and parties in forensic investigations and court proceedings
- International training in relation to witness intermediaries, special measures, remote participation and court adjustments
Known for having "revolutionised the way in which courts approach vulnerable people", she has been described by fellow lawyers as "the guru" on special measures. Professor Cooper designed the well-known and successful English witness intermediary role as well as the ground rules hearing approach which was written into court rules on her recommendation. She also pioneered the training and guidance for accredited witness intermediaries in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory as well as England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
She has led The Advocate's Gateway (TAG) since inception - the international, judicially endorsed resource for lawyers and judges. Her publications and TAG have been cited on multiple occasions in the Court of Appeal and High Court. She has advised and taught in over ten jurisdictions around the world and given evidence at a Royal Commission in Sydney as an invited expert.
Recognised as a leader in her field, she has written over one hundred and fifty articles and chapters and co-edits a leading textbook. Her most recent co-edited volume is Participation in Courts and Tribunals (2020). Commended by Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, it is open-access and downloadable as an e-book.
Other publications include:
- 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. International Journal of Evidence and Proof. 21(4) 351–370.
- 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.