More on: Hostile or Adverse Witnesses

A party to an arbitration hearing may experience a “hostile/adverse witness” dilemma.

A hostile witness is a witness who acts towards the party for whom they are testifying, in a manner which is inconsistent with their earlier preparatory preparation. A hostile witness may also be a witness who is antagonistic towards the party for whom they are testifying.

When faced with a hostile witness who gives a different account of events to that which he had previously given, a party may elect to request of the arbitrator that the witness be declared “hostile”. The benefit of a witness being declared hostile is that the representative is then entitled to cross-examine their own (hostile) witness.

Hostile or Adverse Witnesses

“In declaring someone a hostile witness, you are in effect allowing the representative of the party for whom the witness is testifying to cross-examine the witness as if he is now a witness for the opposing party”. The benefits of being in a position to cross-examine a hostile witness are, of course, that leading questions can now be put to such witnesses.

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