Victim Participation: An Enhanced Focus on Legal Representation for Victims
In all adversarial and non-adversarial jurisdictions analysed in this volume, victims have been afforded some possibilities for participation at certain procedural stages. Yet, the overall picture emerged that victims, on the whole, have not been granted holistic and systematically implemented participation rights at the pre-trial, trial and post-trial stage. The noticeable limitations to victim participation may be due to concerns for the rights of the accused and a fair trial as well as be based on the underlying traditional understanding that victim participation is foreign to state-run and de-privatised criminal conflicts. In light of the generally limited and disjointed participatory role for victims and the continuous and noticeable resistance to its expansion, it is doubtful that an underlying consensus for affording victims structured participation possibilities exists at this point in time. On this basis, Chapter 8 addresses the question of whether there may be greater benefit in focusing on better protecting victim witnesses during proceedings and strengthening the enforcement of existing rights to improve their position rather than in continuing to pursue active participatory rights per se. This proposition is analysed by examining possibilities for introducing or expanding and refining legal representation schemes for victim witnesses. The chapter first sets out the status quo of legal representation schemes in selected jurisdictions before contemplating the merits of their introduction in jurisdictions which currently do not, or only marginally, allow for such arrangements. The analysis also considers problems identified with the practical operation of existing schemes in Germany, Sweden and the US, in an attempt to identify whether these hurdles can likely be overcome in future or whether they pose unsurmountable barriers to their successful operation.
KeywordsLegal representation for victims Status quo of victim representation schemes across jurisdictions Funding Qualification of victims’ lawyers Enforcement of existing victims’ rights through legal representation
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