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Keywords:

  • Victims and witnesses;
  • courtroom interaction;
  • lawyers' language;
  • evidential reliability;
  • eyewitness experiences

Abstract

The article considers the effect of criminal trial procedures on the experience at court of victims, witnesses and defendants. Trials for offences involving physical violence were observed, and interviews conducted with those involved. The article highlights communication problems lay people encountered relating to courtroom conventions, discusses alternative procedures granting more room for narrative testimony, and draws parallels between such an approach and principles of research methods directed to securing valid, reliable data.