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Chapter

This chapter explains the law, procedure, and the practical issues associated with witness evidence. It considers the circumstances in which a witness can refresh his memory from an earlier written statement; the test to decide a witness’ competence to give evidence; the compellability of a witness; the assistance available to ‘vulnerable’ or ‘intimidated’ witnesses to give evidence under a special measures direction; a witness taking the oath or affirming; the rules associated with examination-in-chief; and the rules associated with cross-examination including admission of non-defendant bad character and re-examination.

Chapter

Martin Hannibal and Lisa Mountford

This chapter explains the law, procedure, and the practical issues associated with witness evidence. It considers the circumstances in which a witness can refresh his memory from an earlier written statement; the test to decide a witness’ competence to give evidence; the compellability of a witness; the assistance available to ‘vulnerable’ or ‘intimidated’ witnesses to give evidence under a special measures direction; a witness taking the oath or affirming; the rules associated with examination-in-chief; and the rules associated with cross-examination including admission of non-defendant bad character and re-examination.

Chapter

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: issue and credit; the concept of ‘credibility’; and bringing out the character of the parties and their witnesses. Evidence introduced to illuminate someone’s character is a fairly common feature in both civil and criminal trials. Considerable restrictions apply in criminal cases since the Criminal Justice Act 2003. According to the context, however, it may fulfil different purposes. Notably, it may serve as a potential indicator of whether or not someone is likely to be a truthful witness.

Chapter

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: issue and credit; the concept of ‘credibility’; bringing out the character of the parties and their witnesses; and evidence of the defendant’s good character. Evidence introduced to illuminate someone’s character is a fairly common feature in both civil and criminal trials. According to the context, however, it may fulfil different purposes. Notably, it may serve as a potential indicator of whether or not someone is likely to be a truthful witness.

Chapter

This chapter deals with witness statements. The importance of witness evidence is a historic premise of civil litigation and it remains the case, save only that evidence in chief is now provided through a witness statement unless the court orders otherwise. The fact that the majority of cases settle well before trial provides some complexity as regards how the evidence of a potential witness is handled. The first stage will be to take informal statements. The second stage, where appropriate, is that what a potential witness says may be put into the form of a formal witness statement. The chapter discusses formal requirements for witness statements; drafting a witness statement; drafting an affidavit; exchange of witness statements; and reviewing witness statements.

Chapter

This chapter examines other types of evidence and other ways of obtaining it, usually, but not always, following arrest, and discusses the use of informers; covert policing; witness identification evidence; entry, search, and seizure, and scientific evidence.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the issues that need to be addressed in the period leading up to a trial. These include contacting witnesses to ensure their availability; obtaining witness summonses where appropriate; briefing trial counsel; agreeing and compiling trial bundles; and counsel preparing speeches, examination-in-chief, and cross-examination of witnesses.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the issues that need to be addressed in the period leading up to a trial. These include contacting witnesses to ensure their availability; obtaining witness summonses where appropriate; briefing trial counsel; agreeing and compiling trial bundles; and counsel preparing speeches, examination-in-chief, and cross-examination of witnesses.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the issues that need to be addressed in the period leading up to a trial. These include contacting witnesses to ensure their availability; obtaining witness summonses where appropriate; briefing trial counsel; agreeing and compiling trial bundles; and counsel preparing speeches, examination-in-chief, and cross-examination of witnesses.

Chapter

In conducting civil litigation, expert evidence may be required to assist the lawyer in understanding the circumstances of the case, identifying a potential cause of action, evaluating the case and the potential remedies, understanding expert evidence provided for another party, and identifying weaknesses in their case. This chapter first considers the roles of experts in civil litigation. Experts can be involved in capacities such as conducting early neutral evaluation, decision-making, negotiation or mediation, as a witness in court, or as an assessor. When searching for an appropriate expert, lawyers can turn to relevant professional associations for guidance; and some professions also provide support to members who work as professional experts. The remainder of the chapter discusses the procedure for admitting expert evidence in litigation; the requirements for an expert report; and the contents and review of expert reports.

Chapter

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.

Chapter

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. The law of evidence regulates what evidence may be admitted at trial and under what conditions such admissible proofs are to be admitted. This chapter discusses the following: the respective functions of judge and jury; the concept of relevance; the so-called ‘best evidence principle’; matters of which proof is unnecessary; judicial findings as evidence; prejudicial evidence, unfairly obtained evidence, and suspect witnesses; and evidence excluded as a matter of public policy.

Chapter

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and diagrams and flow charts. This chapter explores an area of evidence law dominated by expert witness evidence and the extent to which flawed testimony leads to miscarriages of justice. Expert evidence is now commonplace in criminal and civil trials, and the courts and Parliament have developed procedures to ensure that it is of high quality. These are an eclectic mix of common law and statute and their development reflects the importance of scientific expertise. It is necessary to be familiar with the differences between expert and non-expert opinion evidence and on when and in what circumstances both types are admissible and questions that can be asked of the expert whilst giving evidence. The approach depends on whether the question relates to civil or criminal trials

Chapter

Chapter 13 examines three broad issues pertaining to witnesses. First, it considers whether certain categories of persons may be incompetent to testify, or, even if competent to testify, may not be compellable to do so. It then examines the relaxation of the rules on corroboration, and the emergence of a more contemporary approach to possibly unreliable witnesses. Finally, it investigates the availability and adequacy of any special measures or procedures for easing the burden on testifying witnesses.

Chapter

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. The law of evidence regulates what evidence may be admitted at trial and under what conditions such admissible proofs are to be admitted. This chapter discusses the following: the respective functions of judge and jury; the concept of relevance; the so-called ‘best evidence principle’; matters of which proof is unnecessary; judicial findings as evidence; prejudicial evidence, unfairly obtained evidence, and suspect witnesses; and evidence excluded as a matter of public policy—notably, intercepted communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the adverse inferences that may be drawn against an accused from: his failure to testify; his failure, when questioned or charged, to mention facts which he could reasonably have been expected to have mentioned at that time and which he later relies on in his defence at trial; his failure or refusal, on arrest, to account for any object, substance or mark that the police reasonably believe may be attributable to his participation in the commission of an offence; his refusal to consent to the taking of an intimate sample, such as a sample of blood, semen, or urine; and his failure to provide advance disclosure of the defence case, the nature of his defence or the facts on which he takes issue with the prosecution.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the law on experts and opinion evidence. As a general rule, opinion evidence is inadmissible: a witness may only speak of facts that he personally perceived, not of inferences drawn from those facts. However, there are two exceptions to this general rule: (i) an appropriately qualified expert may state his opinion on a matter calling for the expertise that he possesses; and (ii) a non-expert witness may state his opinion on a matter not calling for any particular expertise as a way of conveying the facts that he personally perceived. Experts may also give evidence of fact based on their expertise. The chapter covers the duties of experts and the rules which apply where parties propose to call expert evidence

Chapter

This chapter discusses the following: (i) the competence and compellability of witnesses (including the special rules that apply in the case of the accused, the spouse or civil partner of an accused, persons with a disorder or disability of the mind, the Sovereign, diplomats, and bankers); (ii) oaths and affirmations; (iii) the use of live links; (iv) the time at which evidence should be adduced; (v) witnesses in civil cases (including the witnesses to be called and the use of witness statements); (vi) witnesses in criminal cases (including the witnesses to be called, the order of witnesses, evidence-in-chief by video recording and special measures directions for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses); (vii) witness anonymity; and (viii) witness training and familiarization.

Chapter

Chapter 13 examines three broad issues pertaining to witnesses. First, it considers whether certain categories of persons may be incompetent to testify, or, even if competent to testify, may not be compellable to do so. It then examines the relaxation of the rules on corroboration, and the emergence of a more contemporary approach to possibly unreliable witnesses. Finally, it investigates the availability and adequacy of any special measures or procedures for easing the burden on testifying witnesses.

Chapter

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.