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  • Scottish Parliament: Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill

    Created: 07/07/2023
    News/Events Category: Consultations

    The Scottish Parliament is seeking views on the Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill.

    This Bill proposes changes aimed at improving the experiences of victims and witnesses within Scotland’s justice system, in particular victims of sexual crime. It also makes changes to the criminal justice system to try to improve the fairness, clarity and transparency of the framework within which decisions in criminal cases are made. 

    Share your views on proposals such as: 

    • creating an office of Victims and Witnesses Commissioner for Scotland 
    • embedding trauma-informed practice in criminal and civil courts 
    • increasing the availability of special measures for vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil court proceedings 
    • changing the size of a criminal jury, rules about majority verdicts and what happens when a juror is dismissed or unable to continue on the jury 
    • removing the not proven verdict 
    • creating a new sexual offences court and setting out how it will operate within the criminal justice system 
    • providing automatic life-long anonymity for victims of sexual offences 
    • giving complainers in sexual offence cases an automatic right to independent legal representation when an application is made to introduce evidence about the complainer’s character 
    • giving power to the Scottish Ministers to carry out a pilot of rape trials conducted by a single judge without a jury.

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