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The Modern Law of Evidence

The Modern Law of Evidence (14th edn)

Adrian Keane and Paul McKeown
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date: 30 May 2024

p. 2007. Examination-in-chieflocked

p. 2007. Examination-in-chieflocked

  • Adrian KeaneAdrian Keaneof the Inner Temple, Barrister, Emeritus Professor of Law, The City Law School, City, University of London, Former Dean of the Inns of Court School of Law
  •  and Paul McKeownPaul McKeownof Lincoln’s Inn, Barrister, Associate Professor of Law, The City Law School, City, University of London


The questioning of witnesses, which generally falls into three stages known as examination-in-chief, cross-examination, and re-examination, is central to the English adversary system of justice. This chapter focuses on the first stage, examination-in-chief. In this stage the party calling a witness, or counsel on his behalf, will seek to elicit evidence that supports his version of the facts in issue. The discussions cover young and vulnerable witnesses; the rule against leading questions and the exceptions to the rule; refreshing the memory in court and out of court; the rule against previous consistent or self-serving statements and the common law exceptions to the rule (complaints in sexual cases, statements admissible to rebut allegations of recent fabrication, statements made on accusation, previous identification, statements admissible as part of the res gestae and statements in documents used to refresh the memory and received in evidence); and unfavourable and hostile witnesses.

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