MINISTERS today named the locations for pilot projects which will give relatives of murder victims the right to be represented in court.
The move will see so-called `victim's advocates' making statements in murder and mans- laughter trials from April.
The scheme will be tested for a year at crown courts in Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Winchester.
The advocate could be a family member or a third party, such as a lawyer.
Currently, the family of murder or manslaughter victims have to remain silent through court hearings.
The family statement - detailing how the death and subsequent events had affected them - will be given in court at the sentencing stage, after a defendant has been found guilty.
Legal Aid cash would be available for families who wanted to hire a barrister but could not afford one themselves, said a Department for Constitutional Affairs spokesman.
The Government received nearly 100 responses to a consultation document providing a mix of views on victims' advocates. Responses came from across the legal profession, the criminal justice system, victims' organisations, relatives of victims of murder and manslaughter and members of the public.