Training of advocates for vulnerable witnesses

15 September 2014

The Bar Council has repsonded to the announcement made by the Ministry of Justice on training of advocates for vulnerable witnesses.

Nicholas Lavender QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"The Bar Council is in favour of making court proceedings less traumatic for victims and vulnerable witnesses.  We will study the detail of Government's proposed reforms in this respect with care and great interest.

"The Bar Council and others involved in the criminal justice system have been working closely with the Advocacy Training Council (ATC) on designing and building a specialist course of training for all advocates engaged in criminal cases involving vulnerable witnesses. The new course is intended to promote consistent standards across the legal profession, including consistency with the training currently provided to judges who deal with such cases.

"To drive this project forward, the ATC has established a working group chaired by HHJ Peter Rook QC, which includes representatives of the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Judicial College. It has invited contributions from charities who work with victims and witnesses, including Barnardo's, Victim Support, NSPCC and Prison Reform.

"The Bar Council looks forward to contributing further to the work of the ATC, and to working, in cooperation with others , to implement its proposals to help ensure that the needs of victims and vulnerable witnesses are met."


Notes to Editors 

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

2. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board