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Witnesses of Fact

The role of factual witnesses (often also called lay witnesses) is to provide the court with the facts which are known to them.

At a trial or other hearing, a factual witness provides testimony of facts and matters which they have a first-hand knowledge of – what the witness saw, heard or otherwise perceived personally.

Witnesses of fact do not and should not provide opinion on matters – this the role of expert witnesses.

Should a matter proceed to a trial, a witness of fact will be subject to cross-examination – a rigorous questioning about the evidence the witness has provided. Cross-examination is typically undertaken by the opposing advocate – usually a barrister, but sometimes a solicitor.

It is important that a witness of fact is adequately prepared to provide testimony at court. While a factual witness’ legal team will help the factual witness understand the evidence and issues by proofing the witness, the legal team cannot tell the witness how to answer the questions put to the witness.

Loquitur’s specialist witness familiarisation courses are designed to effectively and ethically overcome this issue by providing the witness various effective and practical methods and strategies in how to conduct yourself in court, and how to effectively respond in cross examination. All courses have been prepared wholly independently of the facts of the case so there can be no suggestion of “coaching” a witness. All sessions are conducted by qualified and experienced barristers who are experts in cross examination and advocacy, who are also wholly independent of the facts and issues of the case.
Learn more about the difference between expert and lay witnesses