After your opening statement has been presented, you will be asked to call your witnesses. Often, the other side re-evaluate your witness witnesses. You will have to question your witnesses and the opportunity to question the witnesses of the other party will be granted. You’ll want to think of questions to ask the witnesses before the trial. There are 2 forms for witnesses to be questioned:
Cross Inspection, and Direct Inspection.
The Direct Analysis
The witnesses you call will need to be questioned. Direct review is called this form of questioning. You may need to ask open questions (questions that allow for explanations) for a direct analysis. Open questions normally start with terms like who, what, why, where, how, tell me about, or explain. A leading question is the opposite of an open question. As the name suggests, leading questions lead the answerer to a specific answer. Usually they are replied with a yes or a no. Leading questions enable you to monitor what the witness talks about and also help you get a clear response from the witness. That is why you are not authorized to ask questions about your own witnesses.
To show you the difference, here are some examples:
Question Open:-Define the existing arrangements for parenting?
Leading question: Does Nancy live with you from Monday to Friday?
Open Question: What happened during Nancy’s drop-off on Sunday February 12 last year?
Leading Question: You dropped Nancy off February 12, 2015 an hour and a half late, weren’t you?
Dos and Don’ts of direct review
|The Dos||The Don’ts|
|Start by asking background questions (What is your name? How do you know the parties? etc.) Let the witness finish answering before you ask the next question (don’t interrupt)Keep your questions simple and clearOrganize your questions according to chronology or issue (e.g. questions about debts then questions about child care…etc.)Be precise with questions||Asking leading questions: Questions with answers in them.Ask long questions.Ask complex or confusing questionsAsking 2 questions are the same time (it will be unclear which one the witness is answering)Being too broad – Don’t ask something like “what has happened in your relationship with your former spouse”Asking them to give their opinions – unless they are an expert witness|
The other party will be allowed to cross examine them once you’ve finished examining your witness.
The other side will also call witnesses, and it is your turn after they have interviewed them. Seeking questions from the witnesses of the other sides is called cross-examination. You are entitled to ask key questions.
For cross-examining a witness, there are 2 reasons:
To receive proof that supports your argument. You would want the witness to agree with the evidence you are presenting.
To have the witness discredited. This strategy is used so that the judge can reduce or dismiss facts or statements that do not support the argument. You may do this by putting their recollection or their truthfulness into question. Demonstrate that they could be biased or that their narrative is contradictory.
Cross Review Dos and Don’ts
|The Dos||The Don’ts|
|Ask leading questionsIn your questioning, move from general to specific.Be clear and brief. Use simple languageListen to the answers given and note important onesTreat the witness with respectAsk only one question at a time.Be precise with questionsAsk questions that discredit their testimony||Argue with the witness.Repeat a question asked during direct examination that hurt your case.Ask them to give their opinions – unless they are an expert witnessComment about their answer, you can do this during your closing statement|