5 must-ask questions during witness prep

witness prep

Are you the person in charge of preparing witnesses for a court case? If so, this is a big responsibility that might be causing you stress. If you find you are unable to come up with a question that will help you get to know the witnesses better, then reading this guide will help understand what to ask, when to ask, and what information you need to know so you can move forward with your trial. 

As a newbie who has never done witness prep in the past, you should figure out the basics of witness preparation – this is one of the most influential and important parts of a case, trial, or deposition. In this process, witnesses are going to be the people that you need – however, keep in mind that they are not well-versed in the court or legal world. Since they have involuntarily seen a crime or seen something be committed, this doesn’t mean that they are confident and calm in their manner. Typically, witnesses who have experienced a crime are nervous, agitated, and scared – and it is your job to ensure that they are confident and calm while going into trial. 

But how can you do this? Keep these few things in mind during witness prep to avoid any issue during the day of the trial and bring the perpetrator to justice!

5 questions to ask during witness prep – make sure they are calm and confident in their case!

Ask about the facts of the case

Make sure that when you are asking questions during witness prep that you focus only on the facts of the case. Be aware of asking questions that may be confusing in their answers or have a double meaning – if you find that you’re asking questions and that the witnesses are exaggerating or they are filling in blanks, make sure you use solely the facts of the case so you can avoid any issues with lying on the stand.

Critical thinking question

The next thing to consider is asking questions that are critical thinking questions – they can involve multiple aspects of the case, but they must only be focused on the who, what, and where’s of the instance. If the question is read aloud to the court, it should be easily understood by all who are present – even if it is a multi-part or critical thinking question.

Do not use speculation questions

The next thing to avoid during witness prep is using questions that may indicate speculation. If you are asking a witness to describe what happened, avoid using questions that may take into account what they think happened or their personal opinion.

Avoid time and distance questions

If you are considering questions to ask during witness prep, it could be smart to avoid questions that involve time or distance. Since witnesses typically are unreliable in many details, avoid these questions to get rid of any doubt that people have in their wants. 

Do not use absolute questions

The last thing to avoid during witness preparation is asking an absolute question – if you ask a question using definitives and absolutes, ask another question.


During witness prep, you need to get your witness ready for trial. By asking the right questions and reassuring them, you can make sure your witness is ready, confident, and able to answer all questions! 


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