Extent of services provided
The service will be primarily provided out of Law Centre (Smithfield) by solicitors who have received specialist training. Law Centre (Smithfield) may decide to refer certain applications to Law Centre (Galway – Seville House). No other law centres are involved.
The services will be provided to “potential victims” acting as witnesses in prosecutions taken under specified provisions of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. The solicitor will, at the pre-trial stage, explain and re-assure the potential witness about the procedures that will arise and to notifying them about their rights as appropriate including on issues such as seeking compensation from the alleged trafficker involved in the case.
A solicitor should not prepare a statement to the Gardaí on behalf of the client nor engage in any collation or preparation of material in anticipation of a criminal trial. The solicitor should only deal with the potential victim and should not take instructions from any other representative that the potential victim may also have acting for them.
A solicitor or caseworker should not accompany a client, other than a minor client or a client regarded as exceptionally vulnerable, during an interview by investigating Gardaí.
If a potential victim of human trafficking is charged with a criminal offence they should be advised of the existence of the criminal legal aid scheme and assisted in obtaining representation on foot of that scheme.
A solicitor or caseworker may, where considered appropriate and necessary, accompany the client during the trial itself, primarily to provide reassurance regarding the actual procedures.
Due to the sensitivity of human trafficking cases and the potential ongoing danger to potential victims as the case progresses, every care should be taken to ensure that the confidentiality of client is maintained. For example, it may be preferable to contact clients directly by telephone to arrange appointments rather than sending letters to them at addresses which may compromise their anonymity.