Part 3Miscellaneous and general

Abolition of the competence test

24Abolition of the competence test for witnesses in criminal and civil proceedings

(1)The evidence of any person called as a witness (referred to in this section as “the witness”) in criminal or civil proceedings is not inadmissible solely because the witness does not understand—

(a)the nature of the duty of a witness to give truthful evidence, or

(b)the difference between truth and lies.

(2)Accordingly, the court must not, at any time before the witness gives evidence, take any step intended to establish whether the witness understands those matters.

Commencement and short title

25Commencement and short title

(1)This Act (except this section) comes into force on such day as the Scottish Ministers may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.

(2)Different days may be appointed under this section for—

(a)different courts or descriptions of court,

(b)different proceedings or types of proceedings, or

(c)other different purposes.

(3)An order under this section may contain such transitional, transitory and saving provision as the Scottish Ministers consider necessary or expedient.

(4)This Act may be cited as the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004.