From January 2020 Criminal advocates in Scotland who appear at the High Court will have to be prepared for the changes brought in to force by the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2019. This will include the changes in the way children under 18 give evidence in court with new specially designed buildings to be brought in to force – the first being trialled in Glasgow. This will be specific hearing building where young people will give evidence on Commission.
Scottish Criminal Bar Association president has stated: “The SCBA is determined to ensure that the Faculty of Advocates is best placed to meet the demands of taking evidence in a way which gives full regard to the vulnerable status of the witness while still representing and protecting the interests of the accused. While this can often be a fine balancing act, requiring both skill and judgement, the Faculty/SCBA do not regard these tasks as mutually exclusive.” Witnesses will continue to be examined and cross examined by defender and Crown in the new setting.