Judges’ delivery of ground rules to child witnesses in Australian courts
B Earhart et al, “Judges’ delivery of ground rules to child witnesses in Australian courts” (2017) 74 Child Abuse & Neglect 62.
This study examines the use of ground rules directions delivered in court to 57 child complainants by 24 presiding judges in 52 trials held in three jurisdictions. More than one third of the children received no ground rules directions from the judge, and the remaining 65% received directions on an average of 3.5 types of ground rules out of a maximum of 11 types. This study illustrates that there is room for improvement both in terms of the number of ground rules that judges present to child witnesses, and the ways in which they confirm children’s understanding of these rules.