Anonymous witnesses in England and Wales: charting a course from Strasbourg?

Author(s) Doak, Jonathan & Huxley-Binns
Title Anonymous witnesses in England and Wales: charting a course from Strasbourg?
Source Journal of Criminal Law, Vol 73 (6), pp 508-529
Date 2009
Document type Journal article
Coverage United Kingdom
Summary This article discusses the use of anonymous witnesses in England and Wales, and compares the English legislation and experience with that of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The authors evaluate the English law against the main witness anonymity provisions of the ECHR, and interpretations by the Strasbourg Court. These provisions include the use of anonymous testimony only when strictly necessary; anonymous testimony should not form the sole basis for any conviction; and, sufficient counterbalancing measures should be in place to ensure the defence has a fair trial. The authors conclude that there are circumstances where anonymous witness can be used without compromising the rights of the defence but suggest that English legislation is operating under a lower threshold than that of the Strasbourg Court.
Keywords Victims rights; accused rights; witnesses; anonymity; justice
Topic Victims rights