UK passed legislation allowing anonymous witnesses in criminal trials

On July 16, 2008, the UK parliament approved legislation that allows the use of testimony from anonymous witnesses at criminal trials. The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008 was introduced the month before by UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw as an emergency measure following the Law Lords ruling in Regina v. Davis, which challenged the judicial practice of permitting anonymous witnesses in specific cases. The Ministry of Justice explained that the bill "makes provision for any party to criminal proceedings to apply for a witness anonymity order, so either the prosecution or a defendant may apply, [it] sets out the conditions which must be satisfied before a court can make a witness anonymity order and the considerations the court must have regard to when deciding whether to make an order, [it] sets out an indicative list of the kinds of special measures that the courts may apply in order to protect the identity of an anonymous witness."


UK coat of arms

Learn more about the laws governing witnesses in criminal proceedings from the JURIST news archive.

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