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What are 'special measures'?

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Special measures are steps taken for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses, to help them to give their best evidence, whether during a police interview or in court. Such special measures should be tailored to the person's particular needs. 

They can include:

  • Giving evidence in court from behind a screen. 
  • Giving evidence from outside the courtroom via live video link. 
  • Video recording your statement to be played in court. 
  • The removal of wigs and gowns by judges and lawyers. 
  • The assistance of a Registered Intermediary to help you to understand the questions you are being asked, either during a police interview or in court, and to give your answers accurately. Intermediaries are communication specialists who can help victims and witnesses who have difficulty communicating; they are not interpreters. 
  • Giving evidence in private by having the public gallery cleared. 

An application for any special measures that are required, should be submitting on behalf of the witness. The judge or magistrates will decide whether the special measures should be granted and the witness will be informed of their decision. If the application is granted, HMCTS staff will ensure that the measures are available and will provide assistance as required on the day.