Victim’s right to have a lawyer
There are rules about victims’ privacy in sexual offence cases.
The rules say that the court decides if certain types of evidence are allowed to be released.
This includes evidence about:
- who the victim has had a sexual relationship with in the past
- bad things that the victim might have done
The Scottish Government asked if victims in sexual offence cases should have a lawyer to help them with these rules.
This is called independent legal representation or ILR.
There was support for an automatic right to ILR.
Respondents said this would:
- strengthen victims’ rights
- make the process fairer for victims
- help victims understand the court process
- make sure that the court is told what victims’ views are
Some respondents said that legal aid should be used to pay for ILR.
This means that ILR would not cost the victim money.
Some respondents were worried that:
- the process for ILR would mean cases take longer to get through the court
- the proposals for ILR were too limited
Some respondents thought ILR should be used at more parts of the process and not just for the rules about victims’ privacy.
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