Can witnesses refer to documents when they are testifying in court?

Can witnesses refer to documents when they are testifying in court?

Many friends are curious about whether witnesses need to remember or memorize the documents or the answers related to the case when a civil lawsuit is filed. There are also many clients who are worry that they may give inaccurate answers during the trial, and may let the opponent to use it to their benefit.

Testifying in court is not attending an exam. Witnesses do not need to memorize relevant documents. The court does not require witnesses to memorise it, and it will not be so harsh that they will not be given any relevant documents to refer during trial.

Before the trial, the lawyers of both parties had actually negotiated, discussed and exchanged documents related to the case. In other words, both parties will know what the other parties are filing. One of the important principles of civil lawsuits is to prevent a party being taken by a surprise. To put it in a simple way, before the trial, everyone’s documents have been read by both parties.

When the witness is in the witness box, the documents places in front of him includes:

1.       Bundle of Pleadings

The grounds for the claim and defense of both parties have been clearly displayed. Therefore, if the statement given by the witness in the court trial does not conform to your previous pleading, then it is very likely that you need to say good bye to your case.

2.       Bundle of Documents (supporting documents of the case)

All documentary evidence related to this case must be given to the court and the opposing lawyer before the trial. If you “suddenly remembered” that there were additional documents to submit on the day of the trial, you must pray that the judge is in a good mood on that day itself. Moreover, the opposing lawyer also has the right to request the court not to accept the document (object) or require more time to read and analyze it.

3.       Witness Statement

The witness’s statement must be prepared and submitted before the trial. The opposing lawyer will question and cross examine your statement. Therefore, during the cross-examination by the opposing lawyer, you must stand firm with your statement.

4.       Agreed Facts and Issues to be tried

Before the trial, the lawyers of both parties will prepare statements of agreed facts and case dispute. This saves time and makes it easy for the judge to understand the main points of the case and focus only on the disputed points of the case.

Therefore, before a witness goes into the witness box, he must make some preparations such as reviewing the case and remembering the ins and outs of the case, and review the documents that would be used in the trial. In this way, when the other party cross-examines him, and refers him to the documents; at least there will be no moment of awkward that “all people are waiting for you to look through and read the documents”.

BY WINSON TAN

Note: This article is for reference only and does not constitute legal advice. Therefore, if readers have any legal questions or needs, they should seek professional legal advice. If the reader suffers any loss by relying on this article, the author will not be held responsible.

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