Pace of the Cross Examination

Pace of the Cross Examination

Pace of the Cross Examination
Ian Paul
January 10, 2022

In Cross Examination a steady & constant pace enables you to maintain control and extract answers swiftly- giving the opposing witness less time to manipulate the truth. Learn about the tactics here:

It is important to try to keep a brisk pace to the cross-examination. This is done by having short statements that bring out a series of one fact per question. It is easier to maintain control over the witness if there is a steady constant pace to the questions. If you do not maintain the pace of the cross-examination, then you risk losing control of the examination and giving an advantage to the witness.

A rapid pace maintains controls and makes it more difficult for the witness to anticipate where you are going with questions. This may be particularly important where you are setting up foundation questions for an impeachment later in the cross-examination.

In order to maintain pace, it is important that you not simply read your questions. Eye contact and listening to the answers are key parts to the cross-examination. One method is to avoid resorting to your written questions or outline. The reasons are:

  • The notes will distract you from listening to the witness and maintaining eye contact
  • You need to respond to new information and think of new questions may arise from the answers
  • You may lose the attention of the judge or jury if you are reading questions;
  • You will be unable to question the witness rapidly if you are relying on notes.

The outline may be better utilized in trial preparation if you wish to maintain a steady pace to the examination: The value in the outline is in the preparation stage. Before commencing a cross-examination, you should have studied your outline enough to have it committed to memory in order that you cover all the intended areas during your examination.

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