Approval for costs of special measures for child witnesses and vulnerable adult witnesses

Special measures – when prior approval is needed

The Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”) contains provisions relating to child and adult vulnerable witnesses and, in particular, special measures that can be put in place in certain circumstances.

You may need to seek our approval to use special measures to assist child and vulnerable adult witnesses.

Usual special measures

The following special measures are identified as necessary to support the child witness or adult vulnerable witness:

  • live television link where witnesses are either in another part of the court building or in another Scottish court or other facility that is operated by the Scottish Courts Service
  • screen
  • supporter

This work will not be classed as unusual, and no prior approval is needed.

Unusual special measures

If, however, the work is likely to cost £2,000 or more, you must obtain prior approval under the provisions for incurring unusually large expenditure.

The following special measures are identified as unusual measures:

  • a live television link where the child and/or adult vulnerable witnesses are located in a remote site not operated by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
  • a commissioner taking evidence
  • such other measures as Scottish Ministers may, by order made by statutory instrument, prescribe.

This work will be classed as unusual work and you therefore need prior approval from us (even if the estimated costs do not exceed £2,000).

These requests should contain sufficient information to explain why the measure is needed to help the witness give their best evidence.

We therefore consider all prior approval requests made in respect of the vulnerable witness’ legislation to be unusual work and/or unusually large expenditure.

We cannot grant retrospective authority for work involving unusually large expenditure as the regulations prevent us from doing so.

It is therefore essential that you apply timeously for approval, or you will not be paid for this work.

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