Witness evidence—giving evidence at trial

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Witness evidence—giving evidence at trial
  • When is a witness allowed to give oral evidence at trial?
  • Fairness to the witness
  • Can solicitors give evidence at trial?
  • Order of factual witnesses at trial
  • Swearing in and examination in chief
  • Cross-examination
  • Judicial interventions
  • Witness recollection and departure from witness statement
  • Whether cross examination is appropriate
  • More...

Witness evidence—giving evidence at trial

This Practice Note sets out how to give evidence at trial under Part 32 of the CPR. It considers when a factual witness is allowed to give oral evidence at trial and the various stages of giving evidence ie swearing in, evidence in chief (also referred to as examination in chief), supplemental evidence, cross-examination and re-examination. It also addresses giving evidence through an interpreter. The courts’ evaluation of evidence is considered in relation to the entirety of evidence, witness credibility (including examples of reliable or unreliable witnesses), drawing inferences in the absence of witnesses and/or evidence and how courts address the issue where one or more of the parties is not legally represented (under new Rule 3.1A). Practical tips on giving evidence at trial are also offered.

This Practice Note provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the CPR. Depending on the court in which your matter is proceeding, you may also need to be mindful of additional provisions, see Court specific guidance below.

You should also read this Practice Note in conjunction with:

  1. Practice Notes:

    1. Witness statements and other factual evidence—status, use and immunity

    2. Witness evidence-preparing for trial

    3. Preparing for trial

    4. Order of play and trial timetables

    5. Remote hearings in civil proceedings via video-conferencing and telephone

  2. Overview:

    1. Trials—overview

This Practice Note does not consider the issue of

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