The Alberta Law Reform Institute Publishes final report 111, competence and communication in the Alberta Evidence ACt
On occasion, a court must determine whether a proposed witness is credible or competent to give evidence. The question arises with child witnesses, and may also arise for adults with cognitive impairment. Proposed witnesses can be subject to intrusive and confusing questioning that has little to do with their ability to tell the truth. Alberta legislation about competence has not kept pace with modern knowledge about children's abilities, and fails to address adults with cognitive impairment. It also has a gap affecting witnesses who use alternative means of communication.
Modern psychological research has shown that old assumptions about child witnesses are unfounded. While federal legislation has changed to reflect this fact, the Alberta Evidence Act has not. Final Report 111 makes recommendations that will bring Alberta's legislation up-to-date and inline with federal legislation.
Download Final Report 111, Competence and Communication in the Alberta Evidence Act