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Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2019

Timeframes for vulnerable witness notices

Section 7 – Timeframe for considering vulnerable witness notice

47.Section 7 amends section 271A(3A) so that, in cases where a vulnerable witness notice specifies only a standard special measure, the court may consider the notice as soon as it has been lodged, without having to wait for seven days before considering it. The requirement to wait for seven days remains in place in cases where the notice specifies measures other than standard special measures because, in those cases, another party to the proceedings may object to the measures specified within those first seven days.

48.The amendments will not be relevant in many of the cases in which a party considers that standard special measures are the most appropriate because in many of the cases, there will be no vulnerable witness notice as the new simplified notification procedure will be used (see paragraphs 43 to 46 of these Explanatory Notes). However, the amendment will be relevant in cases where a vulnerable witness notice is lodged because the simplified notification procedure is not available to the party, for example, if section 271BZA or 271B applies or if the party does not meet the deadline for the simplified notification procedure but the court allows the party to lodge a vulnerable witness notice instead.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.

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