That consideration is to be given to vulnerable witnesses has to be a step in the right direction.
The government has now published a consultation inviting everyone to share their views about how to best to support vulnerable witnesses giving evidence in court.
The consultation refers to Draft Practice Direction 3AA, Vulnerable persons: participation in proceedings and giving evidence, which is intended to support a new Part 3A of the Family Procedure Rules.
The new Part 3A of the Family Procedure Rules place a duty on the court to consider:
a) whether a party’s participation in proceedings is likely to be diminished by reason of vulnerability and, if so, whether it is necessary to give “participation directions” for assistance; and
b) whether the quality of evidence given by a party or witness is likely to be diminished by reason of vulnerability and, if so, whether it is necessary to give participation directions. (This provision on giving evidence extends to children.)
The questions asked in the consultation are:
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