The Gillen Review Preliminary Report

A set of scales

Following the controversy surrounding the rape trial of two Ulster Rugby players earlier this year, Sir John Gillen was tasked to lead a major review into how serious sexual crimes are handled by the judicial system in Northern Ireland.

Judge Gillen’s interim report has called for a series of measures to overhaul the way rape is dealt with by the criminal justice system.  The preliminary report contains more than 200 recommendations including:

  • Limiting public access to trials involving serious sexual offences to close family members of the complainant and the defendant;
  • Cross-examination of complainants to be pre-recorded away from the court (initially for vulnerable people and eventually to all complainants);
  • Publicly funded provision of legal representation for complainants;
  • Measures to combat rape myths and stereotypes which may influence juries, eg, victims provoke rape by the way they dress;
  • Strong measures to control the impact that social media is having in trials of serious sexual offences which is having an adverse impact on the administration of justice;
  • Enforce the law to prevent improper cross examination about previous sexual history;
  • Steps to combat excessive delay in the criminal justice system (the criminal justice system, from the beginning to the end of the process, in Northern Ireland takes twice as long as the system in England and Wales); 
  • The accused will be anonymous until charged but will then be identified;
  • Amending the definition of consent to include that a failure to say or do anything, to protest or to resist when submitting to a sexual act does not imply consent.


You can read a copy of the preliminary report at


Responses can be made:





028 9026 1361

In Writing:

The Gillen Review

6th Floor

Millennium House

25 Great Victoria Street




The deadline for making a response is 15th January 2019.