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 sanction is needed.

Unusual special measures

If, however, the work is likely to cost £2,000 or more, you must get sanction 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 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 sanction (even if the estimated costs do not exceed £2,000).

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

We therefore consider all sanction requests made in respect of the vulnerable witnesses 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 sanction, or you will not be paid for this work.

Evidence on commission

If you are the person seeking this special measure, you can seek the costs of the commissioner appointed from the Board if the commissioner is not a sheriff or judge, in which case the Scottish Courts Service meets the costs.

It is also important to include in your sanction request all associated costs such as clerks’ fees, shorthand writers’ fees, accommodation costs and travel costs. Any associated costs not sanctioned timeously cannot be paid for from the Fund.

In this section

Approval for unusual work or unusually large expenditure

Work of an unusual nature or likely to involve unusually large expenditure

Find out what work needs our prior approval and how to apply for our prior approval for unusual work or work involving unusually large expenditure.

Approval for unusual work or unusually large expenditure

Circumstances when you need to apply for approval and when this is not required

View examples of when you need to apply for our prior approval for unusual work or unusually large expenditure and when this is not required.

Approval for unusual work or unusually large expenditure

Taking defence statements in High Court cases

Learn about the process of taking defence statements in a High Court case and whether you need our prior approval to do this work.