Judicial and lawyer interventions in trials of child sexual assault

Natalie Martschuk, Martine B Powell, Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Simone Thackray, Nina J. Westera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents the results of a study that evaluated the extent to which judges and lawyers intervene during questioning of child and adult complainants in child sexual assault (CSA) cases. Transcripts of the evidence of 120 CSA complainants were analysed according to the frequency and nature of interventions, such as raising issues with the question form, question manner, question content, complainant care, legal procedure or rules. Judges most commonly intervened during cross-examination and to a lesser extent during evidence-in-chief. There was no evidence that judges and prosecutors intervened more frequently with children than with adults. The most common basis for intervention was the question form, but the number of interventions was very low considering the prevalence of complex questions asked by the defence. Less than 1% of the interventions were based on question content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Judicial Administration
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


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