The evidential quality of victim personal statements and family impact statements

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Victim personal statements (VPS) were introduced by the UK government in 2001 and family impact statements (FIS) in 2007. This article explores the evidential quality that VPS/FIS have at sentencing. First, the article considers the notion of procedural fairness for offenders and the relationship between it and the rationales for VPS/FIS. Secondly, as a case study, it explores the introduction of victim impact statements (VIS) in South Australia where the evidential quality of VIS was a central issue during parliamentary debate on the introduction of victims' rights to present orally their VIS. Thirdly, it evaluates the current law relating to the admissibility and evidential quality of VPS/FIS in English law. It is argued that incorporating victims' information in sentencing has the potential to undermine key principles of procedural fairness, but VPS/FIS pose little threat to the fair treatment of offenders in light of judicial guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-320
Number of pages128
JournalInternational Journal of Evidence and Proof
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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