Cross examination techniques: 5 things a lawyer must avoid during cross examination

Cross examination techniques


Cross examination techniques: 5 things a lawyer must avoid during cross examination

Cross examination techniques:The fundamental relevance of cross examination in a trial necessitated the recommendation of strict adherence to the techniques, tips and principles of cross examination for a successful cross examination. Cross examination is the questioning of a witness by a party other than the party that called him. The main essence is to discredit the witness and then render his or her testimony irrelevant. When this is achieved, the case of the party that called the witness will be destroyed.

This is because trial process is like cooking a food, the various evidences and testimonies of the witnesses are like ingredients. if well applied, the food will be palatable, but if wrongly applied, the food will be destroyed. It is one thing to have sufficient evidence and it is another thing to know how to apply it. Also it is one thing to have number of witnesses and it is another thing for the witnesses to know how to present their testimonies. During cross examination, a lawyer has many cross examination techniques to adhere to.

A good lawyer must begin the preparation of his cross examination days if not weeks before the very day of cross examination. It is of fundamental importance for the lawyer to pay rapt attention during examination in chief. This is because the more attentive you are during examination in chief, the more information you can gather to enable you nail the witness during cross examination.


  1. Avoid asking excessive and irrelevant questions: Always be conscious of boring the judge with frivolous questions.
  2. Avoid being violent and antagonistic with the witness. A good lawyer keeps giving the witness a friendly smiles throughout the process of cross examination. In the word of Nelson Mandella, when you make someone or group of people feel that you are no threat to him/them, he/they will accept you, embrace you and you will gain what you want .
  3. Do not as a lawyer come for cross examination without a note prepares for the exercise. A good lawyer notes down the questions he intends to ask and the what he intends to achieve from each question. This will be a perfect guide to ensure you ask the very relevant questions and get the anticipated answers or something close to them.
  4. Avoid too many grammar. The success of your cross examination has nothing to do with your grammar. simply give the witness the question in a language he will understand. Remember you are asking a non- lawyer.
  5. Avoid argument with the witness . Put you question in an unambiguous manner and allow him to answer. Do not force your expected response on him.

When cross examination is well conducted, the case of the party is half won. The entire trial process is like a football game. no war, no enmity.

Onuorah Chibuzor Michael by name, born 11th September,1990, From Anambra state, Nigeria

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