Cross-examination by alleged abusers ‘a matter of urgency’
January 5, 2017 3 comments
The cross-examination of alleged domestic abuse victims by the person accused of the abuse should be banned, the Ministry of Justice believes.
Although no longer permitted in criminal cases, people accused of domestic violence are still sometimes able to-examine their accusers in family court proceedings if they have no lawyer. Individuals with criminal convictions and others who have been made the subject of restraining orders have been able to do so on occasion.
Just before New Year, Family Division President Sir James Munby said there was a “pressing need” to close the loophole but that doing so would require legislation.
Now Justice Secretary Liz Truss, also Lord Chancellor, has taken a similar view, The Guardian reports. She and Sir James hold regular meetings, the paper reports. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said:
“This is a matter we are extremely concerned about and looking at as a matter of urgency.”
The Secretary has discussed the issue with colleagues, sources report, and is now considering the quickest way to ban the practice. A discussion paper will be drafted outlining options.
Intriguingly, The Guardian claims, one option under consideration, as an alternative to new legislation, is the “provision of more legal aid” to enable people accused of domestic abuse to obtain their own legal representation. They would then have no need to personally cross-examine their accusers in court.
Photo by Horla Varlan via Flickr
January 5, 2017
Categories: Family Life