Legal Representation for Sexual Assault Complainants

Rachel Killean, Eithne Dowds and Anne-Marie McAlinden (eds), Sexual Violence on Trial (Routledge, 2021 Forthcoming)

21 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2020

See all articles by Rachel Killean

Rachel Killean

Queen's University Belfast School of Law

Date Written: August 10, 2020

Abstract

Traditionally, the notion of a legal representative for sexual assault complainants has been dismissed within adversarial criminal justice systems. It has been argued that the two-sided contest between the prosecution and defence cannot accommodate a third party without violating the rights of the accused, and that the complainant’s interests can be adequately protected by the prosecutor or court judge. However, the past 30 years have seen a development in ‘victims’ rights’ which has seen several adversarial systems incorporate some form of representation. This chapter explores these developments, and the arguments for and against introducing legal representation for complainants. The chapter argues that an adversarial process does not pose an insurmountable barrier to legal representation, and that a carefully managed system of representation could do much to avoid the high risks of secondary victimisation for sexual assault complainants. The chapter outlines the recommendations made by Sir John Gillen in his review of sexual offence trials in Northern Ireland and considers whether such proposed reforms would sufficiently address the challenges faced by sexual offence complainants.

Keywords: Sexual Violence, Legal Representation, Criminal Law and Procedure

Suggested Citation

Killean, Rachel, Legal Representation for Sexual Assault Complainants (August 10, 2020). Rachel Killean, Eithne Dowds and Anne-Marie McAlinden (eds), Sexual Violence on Trial (Routledge, 2021 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3670596

Rachel Killean (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
93
Abstract Views
265
rank
344,038
PlumX Metrics