Giving evidence

Report Writing

Giving evidence may be an unfamiliar and daunting experience. Neither the judge nor the legal advisers expect you to be a polished “performer”, nor to be able to remember every piece of information without referring to your notes. Although cross-examination may feel like an attack on your evidence or your recollection, you should not feel that your ability or fitness as a health professional is being personally impugned. In most cases, your evidence will not be the subject of dispute, but will play a part in the wider issue under determination.
 
In most cases you may have a brief conference with the barrister beforehand.
Observing the following hints can make your experience as a witness easier and smoother.

 

  1. Listen carefully to each question. If unsure of a question, ask for it to be repeated.
  2. Do not volunteer information beyond that necessary to answer the question. If additional information or an expanded answer is required, the barrister will ask further questions.
  3. If you are asked to give an opinion, confine it to your field of special expertise. If you are asked a question that is outside your area of expertise, you should state that this is the case.
  4. Do not display irritation at the questions asked. In cross- examination, a barrister may attempt to impugn or cast doubt on your evidence. The best response is to stay calm and composed; a display of irritation will tend to devalue your evidence and provoke a more extensive cross-examination.
  5. Try to explain evidence in lay terms where possible.
  6. Be objective and impartial.