Ask Away...: How To Be A Good Witness In Court

Monday, December 18, 2017

How To Be A Good Witness In Court

How To Be A Good Witness In Court

There may come a time when you are asked to be a witness in a court trial. It could be during a tricky divorce case, for example, or in an employment dispute. Whatever the reason, it could well be a nervous time for you – a lot could be riding on what you say, and you might be feeling anxious. We’ve got some useful advice about how to be the best witness you can be, should you need to.


Dress Well

Even though you’re not the one on trial, dressing to impress is a good idea whenever you go to court, in any capacity. You don’t have to go out and buy a new suit if you don’t want to, but make sure you are neat and tidy, that you have taken time over your appearance. Iron your blouse or shirt, shine your shoes, make sure your time is knotted correctly, brush your hair. Dress as though you were going to an important job interview, and this should give you a good idea of what to wear.



When you’re not on the stand, make sure you listen to what is going on around you. You may be asked a question about something that was said, perhaps something that an important expert witness such as a computer forensics specialist has outlined. Stay alert and keep in mind that you are really there to do a job – you need to speak the truth and answer only the questions answered.


Don’t Learn By Rote

It may be tempting to prepare absolutely everything in advance and learn it all by rote so that you can simply say it all in one go. That’s not how the courtroom works, however, and a speech isn’t what you are being asked to give. If you do need to say your entire witness statement out loud, you will be able to read it. Since you don’t know what questions you will be asked, it’s best not to prepare any answer as you might answer incorrectly. Don’t volunteer information either – wait to be asked.


Be Serious

For some people, laughing when they are nervous is a natural reaction. If this is the case for you, focus on being as serious as possible. If you do feel as though you need to laugh, have a drink of water until you relax. If you are a jokey, funny kind of person, then again, try not to make jokes within the courtroom. Be as serious as you can because the outcome of the court case will have major ramifications for someone.


Be Polite

Even if the person who is asking you questions is not being pleasant to you, be polite back to them. Getting angry will not help anyone, and could cause the judge to ask you to leave, which could then be a problem for the person whose witness you are. Bite your tongue if you have to, and remember that the lawyers are only doing their job; it’s nothing personal.

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