Vulnerable witness practice note issued by Lord Justice Clerk
A new High Court practice note on the taking of evidence from vulnerable witnesses by a commissioner has been issued by Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk.
Lady Dorrian described the note as a “significant step” in improving the way vulnerable witnesses were treated in the criminal justice system.
It is intended that greater use of pre-recorded evidence will reduce the need for children and other vulnerable witnesses to attend court.
Claire Mitchell, President of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, said: "The Scottish Criminal Bar Association encourages the taking of steps to ensure that all witnesses involved in the criminal process, be it for the prosecution or defence, are able to give evidence in a manner which ensures the trial process is fair to an accused person. The SCBA has already taken pro-active steps to provide specific training for its members in relation to the taking of evidence from vulnerable witnesses, and will be assisting members in training on the new practice note soon.”
The announcement by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, and the note, are at https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/about-the-scottish-court-service/scs-news/2017/03/29/improving-the-way-evidence-from-child-and-vulnerable-witnesses-is-taken