Confrontation in the courtroom: Shielding vulnerable witnesses from the adversarial showdown

Author(s) Doak, Jonathan
Title Confrontation in the courtroom: Shielding vulnerable witnesses from the adversarial showdown
Source Journal of Civil Liberties, Vol 15 (3), pp 296-319, 2000
Date 2000
Document type Journal article
Coverage United Kingdom
Summary This article examines two significant pieces of legislation, which impact upon the rights of vulnerable witnesses and the rights of the accused in criminal trials. The legislation discussed is Part II of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 and the Human Rights Act 1998. In particular the author discusses the right to cross-examine witnesses and whether there are any shielding provisions in the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act that contravene the Human Rights Act. The article considers the right to cross-examine witnesses under UK common law and the confrontation principle as it is enshrined in the US Constitution. The author proposes that UK courts should observe the approaches of the European Convention of Human Rights, and the approaches of Canada and the USA, in which an interest-balancing approach has prevented physical confrontation of vulnerable witnesses.
Keywords Vulnerable witness; criminal proceedings; human rights; cross examination.
Topic Victims rights