Impact of special measures on jury decision-making

'Special measures’ were introduced to assist vulnerable and intimidated witnesses give their best evidence. However there are concerns among the judiciary and HMCTS that special measures may be having a counter-productive effect on juries in some circumstances.

Professor Cheryl Thomas from the Faculty of Laws at UCL is undertaking the first empirical research study of the impact of each special measure on jury decision-making. She is using a rigorous, multi-method approach to understanding jury decision-making and is working exclusively with real juries at court.  

About special measures

The special measures available to vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, with the agreement of the court, include:

  • Screens, (available for all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses).
  • Live link, (available for all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses).
  • Evidence given in private, (available for all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses). 
  • Removal of wigs and gowns, (available for all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses at the Crown Court).
  • A video-recorded interview, (available for all vulnerable and intimidated witnesses).
  • video-recorded cross examination, (not yet in force). 
  • examination of the witness through an intermediary, (full availability for vulnerable witnesses with effect from 31 March 2008).
  • aids to communication, (available for vulnerable witnesses).
Project details

 

Researcher:

Professor Cheryl Thomas, UCL Faculty of Laws

Funding Programme:

Law in Society

Amount and duration:

£195,000

May 2011 - May 2015