Podcast - Rule 5a: Don’t Answer a Question You Don’t Understand

Holland & Knight LLP
Contact
In the latest episode of his "Powerful Witness Preparation" podcast series, Don't Answer a Question You Don't Understand, litigation attorney Dan Small continues his in-depth 10-part series on the rules for witness preparation. He reminds us that a witness has the right to clear and simple questions and they should only answer questions they fully understand. In order to ensure that a witness fully understands a question, a witness must apply three simple See more +
In the latest episode of his "Powerful Witness Preparation" podcast series, Don't Answer a Question You Don't Understand, litigation attorney Dan Small continues his in-depth 10-part series on the rules for witness preparation. He reminds us that a witness has the right to clear and simple questions and they should only answer questions they fully understand. In order to ensure that a witness fully understands a question, a witness must apply three simple tests.

1) Clarity – Was the wording of the question clear to the witness? A witness shouldn’t be surprised or feel uncomfortable if some of the questions don't come out clearly. They just shouldn’t answer them.

2) Comprehension – Even if they heard the words, do they really understand what's being asked? A witness needs to know whether they understand the narrow question that came out of the examiner's mouth because that is the question that will be committed to the transcript. Nothing else matters at that moment.

3) Comfort – The question is comprehensible, but is the witness comfortable with what it contains, or the way it's being asked? The most common source of problems comes from the assumptions that are contained in the question and almost all questions contain assumptions. If the witness accepts someone else's assumptions they have put their word and their future behind a statement they may not agree with or understand.

He finishes by reminding us that the solution is very simple. If a question contains assumptions that your witness doesn't understand, doesn't agree with or they just aren't comfortable with, they should not answer it. They should either ask that it be rephrased or directly challenge the false assumption. See less -

Embed
Copy

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Holland & Knight LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Holland & Knight LLP
Contact
more
less

Holland & Knight LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.