Taking of evidence of a vulnerable witness by a commissioner

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, has introduced new guidelines on the way evidence is taken on commission from children and vulnerable witnesses.

The Practice Note, which emerged from the Evidence and Procedure Reviewprovides extensive new guidelines for the process of taking evidence by a commissioner (where a witness’ examination and cross-examination is recorded in advance of a trial), which will help reduce further the need for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence in person in court. 

Speaking at an event in Surgeon's Hall in Edinburgh on 28 March 2017, which was attended by members of the judiciary, the legal profession and others involved in the justice sector, Lady Dorrian hailed the Practice Note as a “significant step in improving the way in which vulnerable witnesses are treated in our criminal justice system”.

Read the Lord Justice Clerk's full speech here.

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