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Family proceedings: common law and vulnerable witnesses

Date:3 JAN 2017
Third slide
Solicitor Advocate

Evidence of vulnerable witnesses in family proceedings: progress so far?

On 30 December 2016 Ministry of Justice published a statement by Sir James Munby President of the Family Division in which he emphasised his concern as to ‘the pressing need to reform the way in which vulnerable people give evidence in family proceedings’; and that his view is that ‘the family justice system lags woefully behind the criminal justice system’. Reform he says is ‘a matter of priority’ for example to prevent the fact that ‘alleged perpetrators are able to cross-examine their alleged victims’. Family judges have been pointing out for many years he says that this would not be permitted in a criminal court (see eg Roderic Wood J in H v L and R [2006] EWHC 3099 (Fam) [2007] 2 FLR 162 (see below)).

However says Sir James the judiciary cannot act on this. He says ‘it requires primary legislation and would involve public expenditure. It is therefore a matter for ministers’. But he says he is considering a review of ‘Practice...

Read the full article here.