Attending court as a witness for the Council

Attending court

If you have made a statement as part of an investigation into a criminal offence, for example if you are the victim of noise nuisance, the person who brought faulty goods, or you witnessed someone dumping waste, we will keep you informed of the progress of the case.

You may have to go to court to give your evidence, but not if, for example, the defendant pleads guilty or the defence agrees your written statement.

If you are required to go to court to give evidence, you must do so. We will tell you when and where to go and send you a notice to attend. Arrangements are in place that will help meet any needs or deal with any worries you may have. Please note that if you are a witness, the court may issue a summons to secure your attendance.

Please let the officer in charge of the case know of any dates when you cannot go to court, e.g. any holidays. We also need to know if you move house or if any of your other contact details change.

 

Expenses

The Council may pay allowances and expenses to witnesses who are called to give evidence in prosecutions conducted by us. The officer in charge of the case will advise you and provide you with a claim form.

Allowances and expenses payable to prosecution witnesses attending court are governed by Regulations. The amounts paid by the Council will be in accordance with The Crown Prosecution Service (Witnesses' etc. Allowances) Regulations 1988, as amended.

We will not pay any expenses for witnesses who attend court but refuse to give evidence.

 

Ordinary witnesses

You will be a witness to fact - a witness who is neither a professional nor expert and who gives evidence based on their first-hand knowledge of events relevant to the case.

Ordinary witnesses may receive compensation towards:

  • Travelling expenses

  • Money spent on refreshments and meals

  • Overnight subsistence

  • Financial loss (e.g. loss of earnings)

  • Other expense incurred (e.g. childcare)

There are limits on the amounts payable:

  • Bus and train fares (standard fare) would normally repaid in full

  • Travel by motor vehicle is paid at a rate per mile

  • Childcare will normally be reimbursed within a maximum daily amount

  • Taxi fares are allowed in exceptional circumstances

 

Professional witnesses

A ‘professional witness’ is defined by The Crown Prosecution Service (Witnesses' etc. Allowances) Regulations 1988 as ‘a witness practising as a member of the legal or medical profession or as an accountant, dentist or veterinary surgeon.’ Only professionals defined in the Regulations may be reimbursed as a professional witness and this is to compensate them for leaving their practice to attend court. A professional witness gives evidence in a professional capacity as part of their previous involvement in the case, e.g. a doctor. If someone of a defined profession gives evidence as an ordinary witness of fact (e.g. as a witness to an offence) they can only be reimbursed as an ordinary witness.

 

Expert Witnesses

An ‘expert witness’ is a witness whose level of specialised knowledge or skill in a particular field qualifies them to present their opinion about the facts of a case. An expert may give an opinion by virtue of education, training, certification, skills or experience.

The Regulations do not set allowances for expert witnesses, except for overnight subsistence and travelling allowances. Expert witness fees are discretionary but should be proposed and agreed with the prosecutor.

Need more information?

Government pages:

Going to court to give evidence

Criminal courts

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