FAQs about Redirect Examination

After the other side has had a chance to cross-examine your witness, you get another bite at the apple—redirect examination. Knowing when and how to do redirect is key.

  1. When should you do redirect examination? Redirect examination may not be necessary unless some inconsistency or confusion was created by the cross-examination. In a sense, extensive redirect examination is an admission that the cross-examiner was successful in shaking the witness’ testimony. But even though cross-examination is limited to the scope of direct examination, it may bring up matters that require amplification. During redirect examination, you may want to elicit additional testimony to correct any erroneous impressions or offset any incorrect inferences from the cross-examination. You may also elicit additional testimony on redirect to rehabilitate a witness whose credibility may have been damaged.
  2. What are the rules for redirect examination? Redirect examination is conducted in the same manner as direct examination, and the same rules apply on the use of leading questions. See Evid C §767(a)(1). Examination of the witness is generally limited to the scope of the cross-examination. See Evid C §774. And once a party has examined a witness about a matter, the witness may not be re-examined about the same matter without the court’s permission.
  3. How long should redirect examination take? After an attorney has successfully examined a witness on direct examination, and that witness has then survived cross-examination, the attorney’s usual objective is to get the witness promptly off the stand. Any prolonged period of redirect examination increases the opposing counsel’s time to think of questions for recross-examination that can damage the ultimate impact of the witness. The best practice is to keep any redirect short and to the point.
  4. Are there special considerations for using redirect examination of an expert witness? If the witness is an expert who clearly knows more about the subject at hand than the interrogator, cross-examination will highlight this fact to the jury and weaken the cross-examiner’s case. This is a good opportunity to let the strong expert witness show, through additional testimony on redirect examination, that the witness had a particularly good basis for observing or recollecting the previously testified to facts, thereby further emphasizing his or her credibility.

Have you used redirect examination successfully? Share your stories in the comments. For practical guidance on all aspects of examining witnesses, turn to CEB’s California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial, chap 11. And definitely check out CEB’s Effective Direct and Cross-Examination.

Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:

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