New Clause 16 - Special measures in family proceedings: victims of domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 6th July 2020.

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‘(1) This section applies where rules of court provide that the court may make a special measures direction in relation to a person (“P”) who is a party or witness in family proceedings.

(2) Rules of court must provide that where P is, or is at risk of being, a victim of domestic abuse carried out by a person listed in subsection (3), it is to be assumed that the following matters are likely to be diminished by reason of vulnerability—

(a) the quality of P’s evidence;

(b) where P is a party to the proceedings, P’s participation in the proceedings.

(3) The persons referred to in subsection (2) are—

(a) a party to the proceedings;

(b) a relative of a party to the proceedings (other than P);

(c) a witness in the proceedings.

(4) Rules of court may provide for an exception to the provision made by virtue of subsection (2) where P does not wish to be deemed to be eligible for the making of a special measures direction by virtue of that subsection.

(5) In this section—

“family proceedings” has the meaning given by section 75(3) of the Courts Act 2003;

“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996;

“special measures” means such measures as may be specified by rules of court for the purpose of assisting a person to give evidence or participate in proceedings;

“special measures direction” means a direction by the court granting special measures.” .—(Victoria Atkins.)

This new clause would ensure that victims of domestic abuse are automatically eligible for access to special measures in family proceedings without the need for any determination of the victim’s vulnerability

Brought up, and added to the Bill.