The consequences of unenthusiastic criminal justice reform: a special measures case study

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This paper explores the consequences of unenthusiastic criminal justice reform through the case study of special measures provision in England and Wales. These measures provide assistance to vulnerable people giving evidence in criminal trials. For witnesses other than the accused, the law’s development followed a standard process: public concern; governmental inquiries; legislation; and a period of inception to prepare for its implementation. The development of special measures for the accused did not follow this same pattern. Instead, it was gradual, ad hoc, and somewhat reluctant. This paper argues that the way and the context in which special measures developed for the accused has had a negative impact on the extent to which they are embedded within the criminal justice system. This, in turn, has negatively affected their uptake in practice. It is concluded that the way in which the law is reformed is important to its success in practice.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Early online date13 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2019


  • Criminal justice reform, special measures, vulnerability, witnesses, defendants, fair trials