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Evidence - hostile and difficult witnesses - Online CPD

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Package includes:

Online CPD Module  l  Booklet  l  PowerPoint Presentation

Package Fee (incl GST)

  • $91 - NZLS members and Associate members
  • $121 - Non-members

Note: Access to the online files is via your "My CPD" page. If you would like to purchase multiple packages, please contact us here.


Online CPD Module

Presentation time: 60 minutes

The new legislative regime is now well embedded and issues with difficult and hostile witnesses are cropping up frequently. Despite that, many people lack confidence in dealing with difficult and hostile witnesses. This is an essential skill for all criminal lawyers if you are to represent your client properly. This module aims to equip you with the relevant skills by taking you through the law, and focusing on the practical aspects of the various situations that can arise.

Being able to identify and deal with hostile and difficult witnesses – whether you are a prosecutor or defence lawyer – is vitally important to ensure your client’s case is properly put before the Court. Learn the correct techniques for confidently managing these witnesses.

Topics covered will include:
  • Swearing in reluctant witnesses
  • Refreshing memory
  • Hostile witnesses
  • Tips and tricks for tough witnesses.

Learning objectives

You will gain the confidence to:

  • Identify the relevant law
  • Manage hostile, difficult and forgetful witnesses.

Please contact us if you use a dial up internet connection.


Authors: Janine Bonifant, Tom Gilbert
Published: 25 May 2015
Pages: 23


Witnesses are an important part of our core business as litigators. Cases are determined on the evidence presented in Court. Evidence almost always involves witnesses.

The problem with witnesses is that they come in many different shapes and sizes. Whilst openings, closings and submissions are largely within our control, often witnesses are not. Their backgrounds, their motivations, their loyalties and their intelligence all affect the way in which they present in the witness box. A compliant witness is relatively straight forward. A difficult or hostile witness is not.

Because of this, it is essential to have mastery of the tools and techniques that exist to deal with witnesses who are unhelpful, unwilling, or unable. Unless you have these tools in your kit, evidence that is important to your client’s case may not be aired in court.

This webinar, and paper, deals with some of the common problems encountered with difficult and hostile witnesses. We primarily focus on refreshing memory and hostile witnesses. In addition we also cover the issues that can arise when swearing witnesses in – often the first sign of problems to come!

Each of these areas can cause significant anxiety because people are unfamiliar with the rules and processes that apply to them. We hope that practitioners – especially relatively inexperienced practitioners – likely to encounter witnesses who are difficult or hostile find this material helpful in outlining the relevant law and the correct processes to use. This should smooth the way for a more effective, and more enjoyable, presentation of your client’s case.

We have included flow charts as an easy reference guide to have at your side when on the job. We have also included references to the appropriate pages in the very good NZLS Introduction to Advocacy text (the latest version published in 2014 which has a green cover). This is an excellent first point of call when checking many basic issues relating to litigation in New Zealand.

Good luck!

PowerPoint Presentation

These are the slides included in the presentation.
Number of Slides: 28


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Evidence - hostile and difficult witnesses - Online CPD

Publication Date: 25-May-2015

Authors: Janine Bonifant, Tom Gilbert

NZ $121.00

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