Frequently asked questions
Not necessarily. If you qualify as an intimidated or vulnerable witness, you may be eligible for "special measures". This allows, for example, the court to erect a screen between you and the defendant or for you to give evidence by a video link. Detailed guidance on the many special measures available to protect witnesses is provided on the Crown Prosecution Service website
The police investigation into the crime should begin immediately after you report it. By law, the police must regular updates (at least monthly) about your case. They must also tell you if someone is arrested and charged for the crime, and provide clear information about whether you qualify for aid from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority .
No, you do not have to provide a statement if you do not want to. But if you fail to provide one the police may not be able to investigate the crime. If you feel uneasy about making a statement, you should know that you do not have to give it immediately. Another thing to note is that after you have made and signed your statement, it may become part of the prosecution case and all parties involved in the case, including the accused, will be able to read it.
Yes. Every citizen has the right to bring a private prosecution to enforce criminal laws. If you suffered an injury, property damage, or theft as a result of a crime, you may also be able to sue the perpetrator for compensation -- even if he or she is acquitted of all criminal charges.
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Privacy: European report says mass surveillance endangers 'fundamental human rights'
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe says mass surveillance threatens human rights, endangers lives and consumes anti-terrorist resources, The Guardian reports. The leading human rights body in Europe says that mass surveillance techniques represent a threat to "fundamental...
Property law: Law lords consider challenge to £1m chalet lease
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Discrimination: Jewish leaders lobby for Europe-wide anti-Semitism law
Jewish leadership mobilises itself to call for pan-European legislation outlawing anti-Semitism, The Guardian reports. With support from former heads of State and Government, European Jewish leaders are lobbying for Europe-wide legislation to make anti-Semitism illegal. During a three-year consultation, four...
Prisons: Prisoners caught taking 'legal highs' face new punishment
Concern about "legal high" drugs fuelling prison violence has led to a crackdown being launched this week, Sky News reports. New Government plans will see prisoners who are caught taking "legal high" drugs face tougher penalties. Punishments will include prisoners...
International: Ousted Thai prime minister banned from domestic politics
Yingluck Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, has been banned from politics and may face a criminal conviction, reports the Guardian. Ms Shinawatra has been banned from politics for five years by the current military government, led by General...
Smoking: Tobacco firms criticise new law banning cigarette packet branding
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Trademark law: Rihanna triumphs in legal battle with Topshop over 'image rights'
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Criminal law: Child abuse inquiry in trouble over claims of intimidation
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Property law: MPs demand review of manorial rights from feudal area
MPs insist the Law Commission should conduct a review to assess whether manorial rights law should be changed, The Guardian reports. MPs have hinted that exercising ancient manorial rights in Britain could soon be made illegal. Potentially, this means that...
Discrimination: Communities Secretary discriminated against Gypsies and Travellers in 'green belt' applications
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International: Parisian mayor threatens to sue Fox News over "no-go zones"
Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, has threatened to sue Fox News over comments made on the US television network that stated areas of Paris were "no-go areas" for non-Muslims, reports Reuters. Fox News, reporting after the attacks on Paris over...
Smoking: Germans face time limit for smoking on their balconies
Supreme Court ruling could see German smokers facing 'smoking timetable' on their own balconies, The Daily Telegraph reports. The German Supreme Court has ruled that smoking on private balconies must be a restricted activity. Judges sided with a couple who...
Motoring law: Defeat for DVLA after High Court rules driver's 'age alone' insufficient to revoke licence
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Criminal law: NHS doctor stands accused in UK's first female genital mutilation trial
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