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The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Evidence given by, or with respect to, children

169.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), in relation to any oath administered to and taken by a child in any civil proceedings, section 1 of the Oaths Act 1978(1) shall have effect as if the words “I promise before Almighty God” were set out in it instead of the words “I swear by Almighty God that”.

(2) Where, in any oath otherwise duly administered to and taken by any person in any civil proceedings, either of the forms mentioned in paragraph (1) is used instead of the other, the oath shall nevertheless be deemed to have been duly administered and taken.

(3) Paragraph (4) applies where a child who is called as a witness in any civil proceedings does not, in the opinion of the court, understand the nature of an oath.

(4) The child’s evidence may be heard by the court if, in its opinion—

(a)he understands that it is his duty to speak the truth; and

(b)he has sufficient understanding to justify his evidence being heard.

(5) The Lord Chancellor may by order make provision for the admissibility of evidence which would otherwise be inadmissible under any rule of law relating to hearsay.

(6) An order under paragraph (5) may only be made with respect to—

(a)civil proceedings in general or such civil proceedings as may be prescribed; and

(b)evidence in connection with the upbringing, maintenance or welfare of a child.

(7) An order under paragraph (5)—

(a)may, in particular, provide for the admissibility of statements which are made orally or in a prescribed form or which are recorded by any prescribed method of recording; and

(b)may make such amendments and repeals in any statutory provision relating to evidence (other than in this Order) as the Lord Chancellor considers necessary or expedient in consequence of the provision made by the order.

(8) In this Article—

“civil proceedings” and “court” have the same meaning as they have in the Civil Evidence Act (Northern Ireland) 1971(2) by virtue of section 14 of that Act; and

“prescribed” means prescribed by an order under paragraph (5).

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