“I research, publish and advise on witness evidence with the aim of making it the best possible quality.” Professor Penny Cooper, Barrister (retired), BSc (Hons), PhD.

With thirty years’ experience, Penny is an expert on the effective participation of witnesses at hearings/hybrid hearings, in person or remotely. Specialising in witness familiarisation and preparation, Penny advises and trains for global corporations, law firms, international governments and judicial training institutes across four continents.

The English witness intermediary model and the ground rules hearing approach which Penny devised are now used in justice systems around the world. She is the most widely published expert in this field. In 2016 in Sydney Penny gave expert evidence at the invitation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In 2017 the Royal Commission’s final report recommended the use of witness intermediaries throughout Australia. Penny has unparalleled experience working with justice departments to design training and guidance to support vulnerable witnesses.

Penny co-founded and then led The Advocate’s Gateway (‘TAG’) for ten years; TAG toolkits which she has written and edited have been judicially endorsed and internationally relied on as best practice.

At the University of London Penny has led grant-funded research about witness participation and access to justice in courts and tribunals. Penny’s expertise includes cases where a witness or party is vulnerable including those with an autism spectrum condition/Asperger Syndrome.
Penny is a former Governor and Director at the Expert Witness Institute and has previously advised The President of the Family Division’s Vulnerable Witness Working Group, the Ministry of Justice Advisory Group on pre-recorded cross-examination, the Training and Accreditation Committee of The Advocacy Training Council etc.