Senior judges to address conference on witnesses in criminal trials

Senior judges to address conference on witnesses in criminal trials

Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh

Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh will join judicial colleagues from Ireland, Scotland and England in addressing an upcoming conference on the role of witnesses in the criminal justice system.

Hosted by the University of Limerick, the conference on 22–23 June 2023 will provide a forum for academics and practitioners to share their understandings and experiences of witness participation and ‘voice’ within the context of an adversarial criminal justice system.

Key themes will include the identification of vulnerable people, the ways in which their cases are handled and managed, the level of support available to them, and how they are questioned at both the investigative and trial stages of the criminal process.

Although negative experiences of children, people with learning disabilities, and witnesses in cases of sexual violence have been highlighted by researchers for several decades, legal systems have sought to improve the experience of vulnerable groups against the backdrop of the emergence of a “right to effective participation” under Article 6 ECHR, as well as increasing international consensus around the desirability of “best evidence”.

The event forms part of ‘Mapping the Changing Face of Cross Examination’, a cross-institutional Nottingham Trent and University of Nottingham research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation and hosted by the School of Law at the University of Limerick.

Keynote speakers will include Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh of the Irish Court of Appeal and Mr Justice Paul McDermott of the Irish High Court, alongside Scottish judge Lord Beckett, English judge Sarah Whitehouse KC and a representative from Northern Ireland.

More information is available from the University of Limerick website.

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