Jonathan Doak, John Jackson and Debbie Cooper review provision of special measures for vulnerable witnesses under cross-examination

10 years ago, Plotnikoff and Woolfson described achieving best evidence for vulnerable witnesses as a “slow road” beset by cultural resistance within the legal profession. While great strides have since been made to change attitudes, substantial delays in the criminal court system are now compounding the problem. The Chairman of the Bar Council recently warned such delays are preventing powers under s 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA) to pre-record witness testimony from being exercised.


The idea vulnerable witnesses should have their evidence pre-recorded without having to go through the ordeal of attending trial can be traced back to the Pigot report in 1989. Pig...

Jonathan Doak
Nottingham Law School

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