Abbott Witness Services is the only privately operated court familiarisation and support service of its kind in Australia.
Founder Rebecca Abbott was encouraged by Adelaide barrister Anne Barnett to return to her former role preparing and supporting people who were required to appear in court. Anne recognised the value of well prepared and supported witnesses in all jurisdictions not just criminal trials.
During the course of many years in this field Rebecca has seen first hand the benefits of familiarisation and preparation for clients in settling nerves and feeling more positive about the experience. There is a significant flow on effect for solicitors, counsel and the court by ensuring people attend on time and are informed about what is happening.
"The thought of having to go to court strikes fear into most people - it's a very daunting and intimidating prospect.
This is a common response which can be effectively addressed by preparing and supporting people during a stressful time in their lives. "
— rebecca Abbott, FOUNDER
It is very common to feel apprehensive about the prospect of giving evidence in court. The majority of people involved in legal and court proceedings are unfamiliar with terminology, process and what is expected of them. This can often create stress, anxiety and may impact negatively on their lives.
Whilst this is a natural response it is important for witnesses to be able to turn to someone, other than a solicitor or barrister to demystify the legal process and help them to feel comfortable and prepared to attend court.
While Solicitors and Counsel are well aware of the importance of preparing witnesses they may lack the time required to devote to the task especially in the intense lead up to a trial or hearing.
It is also natural for lawyers who frequently appear in court to expect that a witness (lay and expert) will be able to just turn up on the day and calmly give evidence about events which happened some time ago.
At court, the role of Abbott Witness Services is to work collaboratively with solicitors, Counsel and court staff to prepare and support witnesses to present their evidence in a calm and confident manner which ultimately assists the court.
Abbott Witness Services works with directly with witnesses, their family members, solicitors, barristers and community legal services.
Services available in all State and Federal Courts and Tribunals.
Rebecca took on the task of looking after me through a very personal, disturbing and confronting experience. She did that and more.
Throughout I felt safe, supported and valued.
Your support really made a difference and made the whole experience less harrowing.
Just understanding the process. Familiarity was the biggest thing for me.
Rates charged are clearly reasonable and it is a relatively inexpensive resource. The benefits far outweigh the financial burden.
William Boucat SC - Len King 2017