The Witness Services provides practical information about the process as well as emotional support to help witnesses feel more confident about giving evidence.
The Witness Service is aware the services it offers are underutilised by defence practitioners. It commissioned research by Supporting Justice which indicated practitioners perceived the service was only available to prosecution witnesses.
Benefits to witnesses
The service provides independent support and information to allow witnesses to give their best evidence. It offers:
- a preparation service which includes contacting witnesses in advance of trial to talk them through the process of giving evidence
- the opportunity to visit an empty courtroom before the trial day and familiarise themselves with what it will be life when they give evidence
Benefits to defence practitioners
A referral to the Witness Service not only has significant benefits for defence witnesses, but also for defence lawyers. These may include:
- witnesses are likely to give better evidence
- reduced attrition rate of witnesses not attending as they feel better supported and prepared.
- allow defence solicitors to spend more time with their clients rather than trying to keep defence witnesses updated on proceedings when at court.
Read the full blog here: https://insidehmcts.blog.gov.uk/2016/11/02/digital-defence-defence-witness-service/