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Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 124907, tabled on 3 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to ensure that it is fit for purpose in the digital age.

Answered on

8 December 2020

The Government wants to ensure that victims of sexual offences are treated with dignity and respect in court.

Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 provides critical protection for complainants in sex offence cases, by restricting the introduction of a complainant’s sexual history by the defence in sexual offence cases.

In 2017, we carefully looked at how the law was working in practice and found that the law was operating as Parliament intended, while striking the balance between the need to protect complainants and ensure defendants receive a fair trial.

As part of the End to End Review of the Criminal Justice’s system response to rape we are working to ensure disclosure is proportionate, taking into account the increasing digital nature of evidence.

The Government will publish its initial findings and recommendations for action in due course and we are committed to continuing work with partners from across the criminal justice system after that to improve the system in the longer term.

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