Moving the bar and facilitating the testimony of vulnerable witnesses at court
: are advocates’ witness questioning techniques in need of further reform?

  • Penelope Elisabeth Cooper

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In this document, I have reviewed my published research and reflected on its contribution to the existing body of knowledge in the field of vulnerable witnesses and witness testimony. I have outlined my professional background, then the research and policy developments that preceded the introduction of communication facilitators for witnesses, otherwise known as ‘intermediaries’. The contribution made by my publications is then discussed under two key themes: ‘The Purpose and Impact of the Witness Intermediary’ and ‘Witness Evidence and Advocates’ Questioning Techniques’. Central to my research has been my commitment to the development of practices which are likely to improve the quality of witness evidence, namely witness intermediaries, ground rules hearings, advocacy training, judicial management of questioning, and witness preparation. In this thesis, I have argued that there is a pressing need for further reform of advocates’ questioning techniques and such reform should be informed by relevant psychological research.
Date of AwardJun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorBecky Milne (Supervisor) & Ray Bull (Supervisor)

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