Timely and expedited proceedings

Legislation should require that legal proceedings occur on a timely basis. Experience has shown, however, that if proceedings are expedited too quickly, a complainant/survivor may withdraw if she feels that it is out of her control.

For example, in Spain, the Organic Act on Important Reviews of the Code of Criminal Procedure (2002) provided that court hearings in domestic violence cases should come before a judge within 15 days.  Some complainant/survivors withdrew from the process, suggesting that the speed of the court hearing might make the complainant/survivor feel they aren’t able to make decisions about their relationship at their own pace. (See UN Handbook, 3.9.2)


Example: Some governments have established special courts to help expedite proceedings in civil and criminal cases. The UK has domestic violence courts across the country to coordinate and improve the responses of police, prosecutors, court staff, the probation service and specialist support services. Criminal justice staff are trained in domestic violence, courts intentionally group cases together to focus resources for scheduling, and the courts provide Independent Domestic Violence Advisors for support. Bangladesh has established at least one Nari O Shishu Nirjaatan Daman Tribunal in each district to try offences under the Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act 2000. (See: Specialized Domestic Violence Court Systems, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)