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Special measures

It can be very frightening giving evidence in court, and even more so if you are a vulnerable or intimidated victim or witness.

The court might decide to give you extra support and protection in different ways. These are known as ‘special measures’ and they include: 

  • putting screens or curtains around you in the courtroom so you can’t see the defendant
  • giving evidence by live video link, so you don’t have to sit in the courtroom
  • video recording your interview so it can be played to the courtroom
  • video recording your cross-examination in advance and having it played to the courtroom so you don’t have to attend the trial
  • asking the public to leave the courtroom while you give evidence
  • asking the judge and barristers to remove their wigs and gowns to make the process less intimidating
  • getting specialist help to understand questions and communicate answers through registered intermediaries
  • additional communication aids

Special measures are not automatically available to everyone. The court might decide they’re needed if you:

  • are under 18
  • have a mental health disorder
  • have a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning
  • have a physical disability or are suffering from a physical disorder
  • are suffering from fear or distress in relation to testifying in the case
  • are a victim or witness of sexual offences, modern slavery, domestic abuse or certain offences involving guns and knives
  • are the victim or witness of a serious crime (for example, a murder or terrorist attack)

What happens next

Find out about the court reaching a verdict and sentencing.

Glossary

Intermediary

A person who can help you understand what is being said in court. They can also help other people in court understand your answers to any questions.

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