Research, Reports and Articles

The resource centre is a continually developing area of the website which will be of interest to professionals in the justice system and members of the public.

Here you will find reports, research information and articles which relate to IfJ's key aim of promoting 'access to justice for all'.

Young witness cases

‘Falling Short? A snapshot of young witness policy and practice’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, NSPCC, 2019)

This study was based on contributions from 272 criminal justice personnel, including 48 registered intermediaries.

 It was commissioned to examine progress in responding to the needs of young witnesses since the authors’ report ‘Measuring Up?’ in 2009 and a subsequent progress report in 2011.

 Chapter 1 contains the study overview and recommendations.

‘Young witness policy and practice: messages for family courts’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Family Law Journal, Vol 49 pp 669-675, June 2019)

This article highlights key issues from the NSPCC report of relevance to family court practitioners.

‘Managing young witness cases: the views of judges, advocates and intermediaries’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Archbold Review, Issue 4, pp 8-9, May 2019)

This article focuses on the NSPCC report's findings on responses about questioning from criminal justice practitioners.

‘Measuring up?’ Evaluating Government commitments to young witnesses in criminal proceedings’ Executive Summary (NSPCC and Nuffield Foundation, Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, 2009)

This research paper identified significant gaps between Government policies and practice as experienced by children. The study was based on interviews with 182 young witnesses. It has now been updated and revisted in the NSPCC's 2019 Report: 'Falling Short: A snapshot of young witness policy and practice'.

Section 28 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 Pre-trial cross-examination

‘S 28 YJCEA 1999: Checklist for registered intermediaries’ (Lexicon Limited, Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, 2017)

This checklist provides information for intermedairies regarding the procedure of a Section 28 special measures. Please note, it was produced by Lexicon Limited and therefore has no official status. It is, of course, still useful for RIs.

‘Worth waiting for: The benefits of s 28 pre-trial cross-examination’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Archbold Review Issue, 8, pp 6-9, 30 Sept. 2016)

This final S28 special measure outlined in the 1999 Act was not piloted until 2014. 

This article discusses reasons for the delay and why other reforms taking place in the interim helped smooth the way for s 28. 

The Role of Intermediaries

‘“Every reasonable step”: a more flexible approach to vulnerable witnesses and defendants’ (Lexicon Limited, Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, October 2017)

Criminal Procedure Rule 3.9(3)(b) requires courts to take ‘every reasonable step’ to facilitate participation of witnesses and defendants. Intermediaries have used this rule to recommend adaptations tailored to the needs of children and vulnerable adults.

‘Dispensing with the “safety-net” – is the intermediary really needed during cross-examination?’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Archbold Review, Issue 6, pp 6-9, 21 July 2017)

Some judges now ask, given the overall shortage of registered intermediaries, whether their presence during questioning is always necessary.

In this article, 10 registered intermediaries discuss the benefits of their presence in facilitating communication that may not always be apparent to those in the courtroom.

‘A guide for social workers to the profession that enables vulnerable witnesses to access justice’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Community Care, 27 March 2017)

‘Intermediaries in the Criminal Justice System: Improving communication for vulnerable witnesses and defendants’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson, Policy Press, 2015)

Based on the experiences of 20 registered intermediaries and case studies from many others, this was the first book to describe the scheme in England and Wales.

Professor David Ormerod QC described it as ‘A comprehensive and illuminating account of the intermediary role … packed with accessible illustrations and practical guidance’.

Intermediary case study

‘In the blink of an eye’ (Joyce Plotnikoff and Clare Park, Archbold Review Issue 1, pp 4-6,  23 February 2018)

Co-authored with the registered intermediary at trial, this describes the first court use of “eyegaze” assistive technology, designed for those without speech or controlled physical movements.

Practice Directions / Equal Treatment Bench Book

Criminal Practice Directions

Criminal Procedure Rules, Part 18 Measures to assist a witness or defendant to give evidence

Practice direction 3AA - Vulnerable persons: Participation in proceedings and giving evidence

Practice direction 3A - Vulnerable persons: Participation in proceedings and giving evidence

A paper presented to CPRC regarding the use of Intermediaries/evidence - Criminal Procedures Rules Committee


Equal Treatment Bench Book, March 2020 revision

The latest version of the Equal treatment Bench Book (for England and Wales) can always be found by doing a Google search online. Currently it is the March 2020 revision of the 2018 edition. There will be a new edition in Spring 2021. It is important to do a fresh search before using the ETBB on any occasion, as there are periodic revisions between editions.