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Vulnerable Witnesses within Family and Criminal Proceedings

Protections, Safeguards and Sanctions

By: Frank Feehan QC, Caroline Harris
Media of Vulnerable Witnesses within Family and Criminal Proceedings
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Published: 05-08-2019
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 304
ISBN: 9781526507242
Imprint: Bloomsbury Professional
RRP: £67.50
Online price : £60.75
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Loren Epson

About Vulnerable Witnesses within Family and Criminal Proceedings

Are you prepared to protect the vulnerable in court? A guide to the rights of witnesses and the duties of advocates in family and criminal proceedings.

Explaining the legal structure currently in place to assist vulnerable individuals, this brand new title covers every stage of proceedings, including the investigation/pre-proceeding, and postproceedings, whilst also looking at anonymity and protective orders. In addition, it discusses the sanctions available to the court if proper consideration and sufficient protection has not been given to vulnerable people at each stage. Covering legislation, regulation and authorities which govern these situations, it offers best practice regarding the examination of those who have difficulty understanding their case, by reason of age, circumstance or emotional and psychological difficulties.

Practical help is provided through:
Step-by-step guidance at each stage
Helpful suggestions as to how to approach the hearing at each stage of proceedings
Links to the useful guidance regularly referred to within proceedings including the Advocates Gateway

Table Of Contents

1 Summary of the purpose of the handbook
2 General principles as to the examination of witnesses
3 Vulnerable people: pre-proceedings/investigation stage
4 Vulnerable people in the initial stages of proceedings
5 Joint hearings – family and crime
6 Fitness to plead and specific defences arising from being a vulnerable defendant
7 Young defendants and the youth court
8 Intermediaries and ground rules hearings
9 Additional pre-giving evidence considerations for vulnerable witnesses
10 The official solicitor
11 Competence of witnesses in a criminal trial
12 Vulnerable witnesses during a criminal trial
13 Vulnerable defendants during the criminal trial process
14 Jury directions and the judge's summing up
15 Family law


“…family practitioners will benefit from understanding how the police operate to investigate and gather evidence –particularly in the context of interviewing children, who make up a very obvious category of vulnerable witness…It's a compact text that appears to do an efficient job of distilling a lot of information into digestible paragraphs and setting out the distinctions between the criminal and family spheres in a useful exercise in comparing and contrasting… so anything that can help to bridge that gap of understanding is welcome… This handbook will be of great assistance to those starting out who need an accessible introduction to this field as well as the more elderly practitioners for whom the legal landscape has changed considerably in the last ten years.” –  ICLR, ICLR

“I am delighted to be able to report that the book fully justifies its title and will earn a well-thumbed place on the bookshelves, not only of children's lawyers, but also of children's guardians and intermediaries who need to understand how the court can, or cannot, assist the vulnerable to give evidence… Whilst the hoped-for 'rescue craft', in the form of the Domestic Abuse Bill, has foundered, this book does amount to a life raft for practitioners with some charts and GPS.” –  Seen and Heard

“comprehensively examines aspects from pre-proceedings and investigations to jury directions and summing up… written in a succinct and readable manner… absolutely up to date with useful references to current case law and legislative changes” –  Irish Jurist

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