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In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
, cross-examination is the interrogation of a
witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on another witnesses' behalf. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, ei ...
called by one's opponent. It is preceded by
direct examination The direct examination or examination-in-chief is one stage in the process of adducing evidence from witnesses in a court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, ad ...
(in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
known as examination-in-chief) and may be followed by a
redirect Redirect and its variants (e.g., redirection) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Redirect'' (Your Memorial album), 2012 Christian metal album * ''Redirected'' (film), a 2014 action comedy film Computing * Redirect Message (ICM ...
(re-examination in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...

Hong Kong
, and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
). Redirect examination, performed by the attorney or pro se individual who performed the direct examination, clarifies the witness' testimony provided during cross-examination including any subject matter raised during cross-examination but not discussed during direct examination. Recross examination addresses the witness' testimony discussed in redirect by the opponent. Depending on the judge's discretion, opponents are allowed multiple opportunities to redirect and recross examine witnesses (may vary by jurisdiction).


Variations by jurisdiction

In the
United States federal Courts The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government ...
, a cross-examining
attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a government * Attorney-in-fact, a holder of a power of attorney who is (though not ...

attorney
is typically not permitted to ask questions that do not pertain to the testimony offered during direct examination, but most state courts do permit a lawyer to cross-examine a witness on matters not raised during direct examination. Similarly, courts in England, South Africa, Australia, and Canada allow a cross-examiner to exceed the scope of direct examination. Since a witness called by the opposing party is presumed to be hostile, cross-examination does permit
leading question In common law systems that rely on testimony In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. Etymology The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word ''testis'', referring to the noti ...
s. A witness called by a direct examiner, on the other hand, may only be treated as hostile by that examiner after being permitted to do so by the judge, at the request of that examiner and as a result of the witness being openly antagonistic and/or prejudiced against the party that called them.


Affecting the outcome of jury trials

Cross-examination is a key component of a trial and the topic is given substantial attention during courses on
trial advocacy Trial advocacy is the branch of knowledge concerned with making attorneys and other advocates more effective in trial proceedings. Trial advocacy is an essential trade skill for litigators and is taught in law school A law school (also known ...
. The opinions of a jury or judge are often changed if cross examination casts doubt on the witness. On the other hand, a credible witness may reinforce the substance of their original statements and enhance the judge's or jury's belief. Though the closing argument is often considered the deciding moment of a trial, effective cross-examination wins trials. Attorneys anticipate
hostile witness A hostile witness, also known as an adverse witness or an unfavorable witness, is a witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on another witnesses' behalf. In law a w ...
' responses during pretrial planning, and often attempt to shape the witnesses' perception of the questions to draw out information helpful to the attorney's case. Typically during an attorney's
closing argument A closing argument, summation, or summing up is the concluding statement of each party's counsel A counsel or a counsellor at law is a person who gives advice and deals with various issues, particularly in legal matters. It is a title often use ...
he will repeat any admissions made by witnesses that favor their case. Indeed, in the United States, cross-examination is seen as a core part of the entire
adversarial system The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by v ...
of justice, in that it "is the principal means by which the believability of a witness and the truth of his testimony are tested."''Davis v. Alaska'', . Another key component affecting a trial outcome is the
jury selection Jury selection is the selection of the people who will serve on a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial verdict (a finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to se ...
, in which attorneys will attempt to include jurors from whom they feel they can get a favorable response or at the least unbiased fair decision. So while there are many factors affecting the outcome of a trial, the cross-examination of a witness will often influence an open-minded unbiased jury searching for the certainty of facts upon which to base their decision.


See also

* * * *


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Cross-Examination Criminal procedure Civil procedure Evidence law Testimony
Legal terminology {{CatAutoTOC Terms Jargon Terminology Terms Terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as termino ...