Special measures
Produced in partnership with Thomas Evans of 3 Paper Buildings
Special measures

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Thomas Evans of 3 Paper Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Special measures
  • Eligibility
  • The role of the court
  • Time-limits for special measures applications
  • Giving evidence behind screens—YJCEA 1999, s 23
  • Use of live links—YJCEA 1999, s 24
  • Video-recorded evidence-in-chief—YJCEA 1999, s 27
  • Video-recorded cross-examination and re-examination—YJCEA 1999, s 27
  • Transcripts of achieving best evidence (ABE) interviews
  • Intermediaries (to facilitate communication)—YJCEA 1999, s 29
  • more

The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA 1999) (as amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (CJA 2009)) contain a series of measures that the court can direct to protect the needs of vulnerable and intimidated prosecution or defence witnesses.

The measures cannot be applied for the benefit of the defendant. For information on the steps which may be taken in relation to the defendant, see Practice Note: Special measures for the accused.

In summary, the measures available are:

  1. screening the witness from the defendant

  2. giving evidence by live link or allowing the evidence to be given in private

  3. ordering the removal of wigs and gowns while the witness gives evidence

  4. video recording of evidence-in-chief

  5. video recording of cross-examination and re-examination

  6. intermediaries to enhance witness communication, and

  7. provision of aids to communication for young or incapacitated witnesses


In order to qualify for special measures, the witness must fall within one of the categories of vulnerable and/or intimidated witnesses prescribed by the YJCEA 1999.

Vulnerable witnesses

Vulnerable witnesses are defined by the YJCEA 1999 as vulnerable by reason of youth or incapacity.

All witnesses under the age of 18 at the time of the hearing are eligible for special measures.

Witnesses who qualify by reason of incapacity are those who:

  1. suffer from a mental disorder (defined by the Mental Health Act 1983