Richard Woolfson

Richard Woolfson

Richard is co-founder of The Advocate’s Gateway, co-author of its toolkits and contributor to the
Criminal Practice Directions and the Equal Treatment Bench Book.

Articles by this author


Coming to a courtrooom near you

Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson explain the new ground rules for counsel and the recently launched advocacy toolkits designed to help.

Counsel will need to “up their game” when dealing with vulnerability at court, thanks to recent guidance which requires greater fl exibility and advance planning. New Criminal Procedure Rule 3.8(4)(d) requires courts to take “every reasonable step” to facilitate the participation of witnesses and defendants. This includes ground rules hearings (GRHs), at which the judge, advocates – and intermediary, if any – discuss how a vulnerable person should be questioned, or how a vulnerable defendant can be enabled to participate effectively in the trial. Decision-making at the GRH is given a high profile in the Lord Chief Justice’s Criminal Practice Direction 3E and the Judicial College’s Equal Treatment Bench Book chapter 5, both issued this autumn. While GRHs have been obligatory in intermediary trials since Part F.1 Application for a Special Measures Direction was introduced in 2010, the new guidance emphasises that a GRH should be scheduled in any case involving a vulnerable witness or defendant,  whether or not an intermediary takes part in the trial.


20 February 2014
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