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Cover Cross & Tapper on Evidence

V. Witnesses  

This chapter looks at some special considerations relating to the evidence of witnesses. It first sets out to sketch the way in which this branch of law has changed over time. The chapter then deals with the procedures for taking testimony in the standard case and, in particular, appropriate measures for dealing with witnesses who are fearful. Next, this chapter discusses factors peculiar to particular categories of witness, such as children, spouses, and offenders. In a number of cases, special rules have been devised to cater for these special categories. Sometimes special rules of competence and compulsion, rules requiring supporting evidence, and rules of practice dictating the form of direction are given to the jury when considering such evidence. Finally, the chapter deals with the nature of supporting evidence.


Cover Murphy on Evidence

6. Witnesses  

Competence and compellability; oaths and affirmations

This chapter is divided into two parts. The first part discusses the law on witness competence and compatibility. The general rule of law in England and Wales is that all witnesses, including children, are competent (able to give evidence) and witnesses are also compellable (liable to be required to give evidence subject to sanction for contempt). Particular rules apply to children and persons under disability, the accused in a criminal case, and spouses and civil partners. The second part deals with oaths and affirmations, covering the requirement of sworn evidence; the effect of oaths and affirmations; and exceptions to the requirement of sworn evidence.


Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

8. Cross-examination and re-examination  

This chapter first discusses cross-examination, the questioning of a witness immediately after his examination-in-chief by the legal representative of the opponent of the party calling him, or by the opposing party in person, and by the legal representative of any other party to the proceedings or by any other party in person. The object of cross-examination is to elicit evidence which supports the cross-examining party’s version of the facts in issue and to cast doubt upon the witness’s evidence-in-chief. It then turns to re-examination. A witness who has been cross-examined may be re-examined by the party who called him. The object of re-examination is to repair damage that has been done by cross-examination.