New Thinking on Giving Evidence
In a lecture on ‘The Scottish Legal System – What Next?’, Lord Gill explained that the Scottish legal system is under reform, and suggested there may be a need for radical re-examination of how evidence can be provided to the court. Lord Gill expressed the need for forward thinking ideas for all available evidence to be received by convenient, cost effective and innovative means for all involved.
Victim Support Scotland representatives joined many legal professionals, organisations and parties with an interest in the legal system at the event earlier this month. Giving evidence in its current form often prolongs trials, and Lord Gill emphasised that all involved are required to accept new ways of thinking around the various ways to give and receive evidence in the courts.
Victim Support Scotland welcomes Lord Gill’s comments on the need for improvement in how witnesses give their evidence, as this ties in with our call for changes to court processes as set out in our Manifesto. We look forward to taking part in the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service’s working groups on the Next Steps of the Evidence and Procedure Review, which will look at this as part of the overall improvements required to the way vulnerable witnesses are treated in Scotland.
Lord Gill also highlighted the importance of judicial training and the wide range of training courses provided by the Judicial Institute for Scotland in their state-of-the-art training facilities. Lord Gill praised the outward looking and forward thinking approach to Judicial training.
Judicial training is an area of interest for VSS, as it is crucial that judges are able to understand the needs of victims and witnesses, and the impact of different types of crimes on them when attending court. In April of this year, the VSS Learning & Development team provided input into training for Justices of the Peace on witnesses and supporters and what the judge should expect. We look forward to a continuing relationship with the Judicial Institute for Scotland, to ensure that judges in all courts are aware of, and sensitive to, the needs of victims and witnesses.