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Unethical Witness Coaching – How is Witness Familiarisation Different?

Witness coaching is prohibited in Australia, and other common law jurisdictions. It is unethical, and coached witnesses (and their legal team) will face censure of the Court.

What is witness familiarisation training
Witness training not coaching

Witness coaching is influencing a witness’ evidence – telling a witness what to say, or how to answer a question put. In other words, it is “the orchestration of the evidence given” (R v Salisbury (unreported 19 May 2004) UK).

In practice, “[t]here is a fine line between legitimate witness preparation and unethical coaching of a witness. Despite the difficulty of drawing that line, the courts insist upon its maintenance.” (Speech by Justice John Griffiths, 5 March 2014: “Some Ethical Issues for Legal Practitioners” at para 17).

As a completely independent organisation, Loquitur helps to ensure that witnesses and practitioners stay safely on the ethical side of that fine line. We do so by ensuring:
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All of our training courses are taught by independent local barristers, who are fully aware of, and subject to, the relevant regulatory and ethical obligations.

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All our materials are prepared completely independently of the underlying legal proceedings.

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All training sessions are conducted strictly without reference to the underlying proceedings. Loquitur and its instructors do not and cannot know details of these proceedings.

In this manner Loquitur’s specialist witness training seeks to give all witnesses the skills and confidence in giving their oral evidence under cross examination. We do not (and cannot) tell a witness what to say in evidence, rather Loquitur enables a witness to effectively deliver their evidence – and thus allows the Court to obtain the best evidence possible.

Loquitur Witness Familiarisation – theoretical education and practical training for factual and expert witnesses to facilitate the effective delivery of evidence in Court.

Expert evidence training

What are the benefits of our training?