How to Give Evidence in Court

by | May 11, 2019 | Legal News

Few of us are comfortable when called to give evidence in court. It is not an enviable position nor does one anticipate having to recall post the event minute detail of our day to day experiences, and potentially to

Few of us are comfortable when called to give evidence in court.

It is not an enviable position nor does one anticipate having to recall post the event minute detail of our day to day experiences, and potentially to face cross examination on them.
So here are a few guidelines which may help.

  • Keep it simple; the truth doesn’t lie and will never trip you up;
  • If you are unsure the question, ask for it to be repeated;
  • If in doubt, clarify the question, ask for it to be explained;
  • If you are not certain of the answer, say so;
  • Don’t be afraid to qualify your answer e.g. ‘to the best of my knowledge’, ‘as far as I am aware’, ‘I believe’…
  • If a question refers to a document, ask to see a copy of the document. Take your time reading the document
  • Detail is important, talk through your answers slowly and take your time, what is self-explantory and evident to you will not necessarily be so for the listener

“If it is not specifically stated that the sun rose in the morning and set in the evening in your direct evidence, in the legal context it did not happen. Take your time, listen to the question, and detail your answer for your audience”

In direct evidence in the Court room, the lawyer questioning you cannot ask leading questions; in essence they cannot lead you through a prepared answer. You must tell your own story in your own words, taking care that each detail is given. The lawyer cannot put words into your mouth.

If you leave it for information to be implied or assumed, the gravity of each step or action that occurred will be lost. This is one situation where more is more. Your accuracy is paramount.

If you are wrong, you could be discredited later and damage the veracity of all of the evidence you have given.

You should only give evidence (and answer questions) relating to matters that are within your knowledge or events that you personally observed or witnessed. You should outline the facts to the Court. You are a witness for the Court not for any one party. It is the Court who you owe the duty to assist.

By the same token, you must exercise caution. If there is a matter you would prefer not to discuss, do not give a lead into that topic, in that situation less is more. Answer only the question you are asked and do so honestly and succinctly.

Prepare to be Cross-Examined

If you are in court after you give evidence with your lawyer, the defence will be given the opportunity to cross examine your evidence, known as a cross examination. In this instance, the lawyer is able to ask you leading questions i.e questions that would normally be capable of being answered with a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Do not be afraid to clarify your answer and to answer the question in full. There may be more to the context of the answer than what is covered by a simple yes or no answer.

The purpose of cross-examination is to test, challenge and cast doubt on the accuracy or reliability of your evidence and to elicit evidence from you that is favourable to the cross-examining party, be mindful of this when you are answering but not defensive.

You may be questioned on any errors, contradictions, alternative explanations or inconsistencies in your evidence and your powers of perception and memory may be questioned, this is why it is important from the outset to be accurate, to take your time, and be truthful, particularly if you are not clear on your memory of a certain event.

Be aware of the rule against hearsay; the general rule is that a statement made by somebody other than the person testifying (i.e. other than you) is inadmissible if it is tendered as evidence of the truth of the statement. You must give your evidence alone and not that of another person.

Prepare for Attending Court

  • Dress in a professional manner.
  • Arrive at least twenty minutes in advance of the time specified on the subpoena or by your solicitor.
  • Be willing to assist the Court.
  • Answer your questions directly to the Judge, not the person asking the questions. Address the judge as ‘Judge’.
  • If you are required to bring documents, ensure that you have the required documents. Double check the Subpoena you received or check with your Solicitor.
  • Check with your solicitor for the location of, and directions to, the courtroom you are required to attend. A map of the Four Courts complex can be found at www.courts.ie
  • Finally, bring some water and a newspaper, you may sometimes have a long wait to be called!

For your convenience you can download this guide as a PDF here or for check out the Litigation section of our website.

INDEPENDENT GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS

Grace Ohanlon
Grace Ohanlon
1700232954
Lovely solicitor. Rang for advise on a potential claim from an airline and gave great advice. Would highly recommend
Shannon Spence
Shannon Spence
1697704636
Myself and my partner worked with Carmody Moran earlier this year when buying our first house. As first time buyers, we weren't really sure how the whole process worked. Jim Downing really helped us and made the process clear and easy to understand, and kept us updated throughout the process. Would definitely recommond the service.
Almudena B.
Almudena B.
1696953957
We used Carmody Moran's conveyancing services, and we couldn't have wished for a better solicitor. Caila was extremely professional, responsive and knowledgeable. As first-time buyers, everything was new to us, but she had our back every step of the way, and was looking out for our best interests during the whole process. When things turned difficult on closing date, Caila intervened promptly and sorted everything out for us, even when it looked impossible. We cannot recommend Carmody Moran enough, and we'll surely use them for any future legal affairs we may have!
Parvathi R.Nair
Parvathi R.Nair
1695742166
Just wanted to express my deep gratitude for the dedicated work you did.The way that they treat clients are amazing.Always giving timely responses.I was very free to ask my queries and they gave me good clarifications.I highly recommend them to anyone looking for notary services 😊.
César cmc
César cmc
1695590275
I would definitely recommend Carmody Moran solicitors. They definitely made my journey easier, and had the patience to make me understand any parts of the process I struggled with.Special thanks to the team. 👍👍
Sergey Sk
Sergey Sk
1695240410
I was looking for a family law consultation and asked Carmody Moran for one. Unfortunately, they didn't have the capacity, but at least they were nice enough to call me back and reply by email.So the very least you can expect from these specialists is the right attitude (unlike from many others out there on the market), but likely a lot more!
Madeleine N
Madeleine N
1694685129
We recently engaged Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of our home, on receiving a recommendation for Caila Ryan specifically. Caila and the team were a pleasure to deal with. Caila was incredibly responsive, efficient and diligent throughout the process. As first time buyers, Caila explained all steps clearly and concisely to us, which eased our stress. Caila and the team went above and beyond for us - and accommodated ad hoc meetings when required. We highly recommend Caila and the team at Carmody Moran.
Aditya Labhe
Aditya Labhe
1694624301
Caila was nothing but helpful throughout the process of me buying a new apartment. She is diligent, helpful and has great attention to detail. She was patient with me with all the questions and ensured the process was as through as possible from all the legalities stand point. A true champion for her clients. I have no hesitation recommending her.
Jodie Osullivan
Jodie Osullivan
1693827563
I had an absolutely fantastic experience with my solicitor! Their hard work and dedication were truly impressive. They went above and beyond to help me with my legal matters. I couldn't have asked for a better advocate. Highly recommended!
I recently engaged with Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of my new home. Caila and team were incredibly helpful throughout the whole process, ensuring I was kept up to date and promptly responded to any queries I had raised. I was particularly impressed at how diligent and efficient Caila was in ensuring the purchase went as smooth as possible. Would highly recommend them for their Legal services.
Aedamar O'Toole
Aedamar O'Toole
1683694350
Carmody Moran Solicitors exceeded all expectations as a Solicitor. Caila was an absolute pleasure to deal with from start to finish. She is exceptionally professional, organised and responsive. We needed her service in buying a house. She made sure that we were in the best position to make the transaction and was extremely thorough and intelligent in her work. She helped us secure the house before another interest rate hike. She went above and beyond as a solicitor and I couldn’t recommend her enough!
Louise O'Dwyer
Louise O'Dwyer
1682673711
I recently had the pleasure of engaging Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of my new home. I found Caila and the team to be extremely professional, efficient and they kept the whole process moving along smoothly at all times. Everything was explained to me at each stage in the process in a clear and concise manner. I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors to anyone for quality legal services.
Luke Ivers
Luke Ivers
1682431670
Caila at carmody Moran is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Always attentive and always keeping you update. Caila took a lot of the stress out of the leg work having everything ready and constantly in contact with us. Would recommend Carmody Moran to anyone. They're all lovely to deal with and so helpful.
John Corr
John Corr
1681890399
We recently engaged with Carmody Moran Solicitors for a property purchase. From start to finish I found their service to be highly efficient and accommodating at all times . Caila in their office was very pleasant to deal with . I would highly recommend them to anyone in the future.
Laura Butler
Laura Butler
1680770430
Absolutely fantastic, I would highly recommend. Prompt responses, clear and helpful communication, very diligent, and absolutely lovely to deal with. Caila is a star. Even my estate agent was full of praise!
Aileen Power
Aileen Power
1678466164
Carmody Moran recently helped me with the sale of my home. Niamh, Caila and all the team were fantastic to deal with from start to finish. They explained everything so clearly, were extremely professional, efficient and always responded promptly. On top of that they were just such a friendly group of people to deal with. I would highly recommend them.
The client service was really great. Understanding, easy to deal with and reactive
Joe Marsh
Joe Marsh
1664215159
We recently closed on a first time house purchase and we were very pleased with how the whole process was handled at Carmody Moran. They always responded clearly and promptly to the many queries I had along the way and were on the ball with following up issues with the sellers solicitors to keep the process moving.The reason I went with them originally over other options was because they gave a very clear breakdown for the charges and the quoted price we were given was transparent and easy to understand compared to other quotes I received.I will definitely use them again if the need arises and recommend them to my friends and family.
Kenneth Ohaa
Kenneth Ohaa
1662025947
I got the keys to my new house a few weeks back. I cannot recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors highly enough. It was a bit lengthy as I was buying and selling at the same time. In such cases you need experienced and competent solicitors such as Carmody Moran Solicitors.Stephanie and Helen were a pleasure to work with. Very transparent and communicative. Also occasionally dealt with Lucy and Caila. They were brilliant as well.I would like to say Thank you to the entire Carmody Moran team.Kenneth
Salt Almighty
Salt Almighty
1660112195
I needed a solicitor to arrange a mortgage, and they went above and beyond to help me !I would advise them to anyone
Andrew Grime
Andrew Grime
1656963543
My partner and I recently made the acquisition of our first home and it was a lengthy and difficult process, due to the fact we were buying from a receiver.In such difficult cases, you will need a legal representation as competent and professional as Carmody Moran Solicitors on your side.We were primarily dealing with Stephanie who gave us regular updates, helped us understand what is happening and what to do. We felt our interest always came first which made every appointment with her something we looked forward to.We were also occasionally in contact with Lucy, Niamh and other brilliant members of the firm, all of whom provided an excellent level of support and knowledge in Stephanie's absence.I couldn't recommend Carmody Moran enough. I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you on behalf of myself and my partner to every one involved at the firm who helped us make our dream a reality. We will not hesitate to call upon your services again should the occasion arise.Andrew.
Next Reviewsjs_loader
Law-Society-of-Ireland
Finalist-Logo
Membership-Logo
APIL-Logo
National-Solicitors-Alliance-Logo