Over the last 25 years there has been a growing recognition that the way in which cases involving the vulnerable are investigated, charged and tried needs to change. Successive judgments of the Court of Appeal have re-enforced the message that advocates and judges have a duty to ensure vulnerable witnesses and defendants are treated fairly and allowed to participate effectively in the process. How do practitioners recognise who is or may be vulnerable? How should that person be interviewed? What account should police and the CPS take of a defendant's vulnerabilities? How should advocates adjust their questioning of vulnerable witnesses and defendants whilst still complying with their duties to their client? How should judges manage a trial to ensure the effective participation of vulnerable witnesses and defendants? Vulnerable People and the Criminal Justice System, written by leading experts in the field, gathers together for the first time answers to these questions and many more. It provides a practical, informative and thought-provoking guide to recognising, assessing and responding to vulnerability in witnesses and defendants at each stage of the criminal process.
Backed by authoritative research and first-hand experience and drawing on recent case law, this book enables practitioners to deal with cases involving vulnerable people with calmness, authority, and confidence.
HHJ Heather Norton was called to the Bar in 1988. She is now the Resident Judge at Canterbury Crown Court. She practised from 23 Essex Street and QEB Hollis Whiteman for 25 years as a criminal barrister. In 2012, she was appointed a circuit judge (heavyweight crime) authorised to try serious sexual crime. She has substantial experience both as an advocate and as a Judge in the management and trial of serious sexual offences and cases involving defendants or witnesses who are vulnerable due to their age, communication difficulties or their mental or physical health. She has also lectured on issues relating to Vulnerable witnesses and sexual offences and drafted best practice guidance to be followed throughout Kent for trials involving vulnerable people. Professor Penny Cooper was called to the Bar in 1990 and is a door tenant at 39 Essex Chambers. She has also been a legal academic since 2002. She became a professor in 2009, was an Associate Dean of City Law School for many years and now holds two visiting professorships at London Law Schools. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminal Policy Research and leads the Vulnerability in the Courts research project. She is the Co-founder and Chair of The Advocates' Gateway and author/co-author of numerous books, toolkits and peer-reviewed articles on vulnerable witnesses and parties. Penny designed the English witness intermediary model, created the 'ground rules approach' and co-authors witness intermediary procedural guidance in three jurisdictions. She regularly lectures in the United Kingdom and overseas.