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Prisons and Courts Bill: Cross-examination of complainant witnesses

Date:24 FEB 2017
Third slide
Solicitor Advocate

Reforms  for evidence of domestic violence complainants

Prisons and Courts Bill was published yesterday and represents a pot-pouri of provisions related to making prison nastier for those sent there (convicted of ‘heinous crimes’) cheaper car insurance (with the capping of whip-lash injury claims) and – and as this note explains – measures in family courts to bolster protection of complainants to domestic violence. The plan according to the Ministry of Justice press release is that:

'The government is giving courts the power to put an end to domestic violence victims being quizzed by their attackers in the family courts calling time on what the Justice Secretary has described as a "humiliating and appalling" practice. This follows an urgent review she commissioned last month.'

The bill (see cl 47) proposes a variety of amendments (ss 31Q-31X) to Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 to deal with cross-examination of complainants by defendants in person. In what follows the complainant will be A and the alleged abuser B. The issue arises where an unrepresented B in person is entitled to cross-examine A – or ‘quizz’ in...

Read the full article here.