Since 1977, over 10,000 Spokespersons Trained.

Common Witness Terms

Your success as a witness will be greatly enhanced with some knowledge of courtroom nomenclature and procedure. If you are unfamiliar with words or phrases being used, ask your attorney to explain them. Your attorney is your champion trust him or her and seek out their guidance.

ALJ: Administrative Law Judge is an officer in a governmental agency with quasi-judicial functions including conducting hearings, making findings of fact and making recommendations.

Advocate: You. A person who defends or maintains a cause or proposal.

Appeal: To take a lower court's decision before a higher court for review.

Application: A request for action or relief.

Argument: A reason or the reasoning given for or against a matter under discussion.

Brief: A formal written presentation of an argument that sets forth the main points with supporting precedents and evidence. Rarely brief.

Case Coordinator: Person (applicant employee) responsible for making certain that the testimony of all witnesses is consistent.

Court reporter: One who makes a shorthand recording of a proceeding.

Cross-examination: The examination (questioning) of a witness who has already testified in order to check or discredit the witness's testimony, knowledge, or credibility.

Deposition: A statement that is made under oath by a party or witness in response to oral examination or written question that is recorded by an authorized officer (such as a court reporter).

Direct examination: The first examination of a witness by the party calling the witness.

Discovery: The method used by parties to obtain information held by the other party. The disclosure of information held by the opposing party but not privileged information.

Exhibit: A document labeled with an identifying mark (as a number or letter) and appended to written testimony to which it is relevant.

Expert witness: A person with special or superior skill or knowledge in a particular area.

Filing: Submitting a legal document to the proper office (as in the office of a clerk of the court) as a procedural step in a legal transaction or proceeding.

Forced majeure: An event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled.

Interrogatory: A written question directed by one party to another party regarding information that is within the scope of discovery.

Lawyer: Insert your favorite joke here.

Objection: A statement of opposition to an aspect of judicial or other legal proceeding.

Sustained: To allow or uphold as valid.

Overruled: To rule against, i.e., "the objection is overruled; the witness may answer."

Perjury: Knowingly making a false statement while under oath. A lie.

Privileged Information: An exemption from a requirement to disclose information that is granted because of a relationship that demands confidentiality, i.e., attorney-client.

Proprietary: Information that is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against competition, as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture.

Recess: A temporary adjournment of a trial, hearing or legislative session.

Redirect: Examination of a witness again after cross-examination (often times in an effort to rehabilitate the witness's credibility).

Rehabilitate: To restore credibility to a witness or testimony.

Rebuttal: To refute, counteract, or disprove by evidence or argument.

Stipulate: To establish procedure or evidence by agreement during a proceeding.

Striken/Strike from the record: To remove or delete something.

Surrebuttal: The response to the rebuttal of the opposing party.

Vacation: What you will want after two days of grueling cross-examination.

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