Sanction for unusual work or work likely to incur unusually large expenditure – special measures for child witnesses and vulnerable adult witnesses

Vulnerable witnesses

The Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”) (as amended) contains provisions relating to child and adult vulnerable witnesses in court proceedings under Part 10 or 15 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.

You may need to seek our approval to use special measures to assist a child and vulnerable adult witnesses in children’s court proceedings.

The following special measures used to support the child or vulnerable adult witness are classed as usual and therefore, no prior sanction is needed for:

  • 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 and Tribunal Service.
  •  Use of a screen in court.
  •  Assistance from a supporter in court.

However, if 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 will be classed as unusual work and you, therefore, need prior sanction for:

  • 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 Tribunal Service.
  • A commissioner taking evidence.
  • Such other measures as Scottish Ministers may, by order made by statutory instrument, prescribe.

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

Evidence on commission

If you are seeking this special measure, you can seek the costs of the commissioner appointed from us if the commissioner is not a sheriff or judge where SCTS will meet the cost.

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.

Accounts information

Where appropriate, a detailed breakdown of the time spent and the rates charged is required to let us properly assess the outlay claimed.

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