Vulnerable Witnesses: The Investigation Stage’. In Vulnerable People and the Criminal Justice System: A Guide to Law and Practice

This chapter covers one of a number issues in the book Vulnerable People and the Criminal Justice System: A Guide to Law and Practice. The following description is from the publisher’s website.

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.


Rebecca Milne, and Kevin Smith. 2017. ‘Vulnerable Witnesses: The Investigation Stage’. In Vulnerable People and the Criminal Justice System: A Guide to Law and Practice, edited by Penny Cooper and Heather Norton. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/vulnerable-people-and-the-criminal-justice-system-9780198801115.