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In Court, What Is a Redirect?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A redirect examination takes place during a trial after the cross examination of a witness has been completed. During a redirect, the lawyer who called the witness has an opportunity to clarify the testimony of the witness, in an attempt to minimize potential damage and explain the testimony. The right to a redirect is not always taken by a lawyer, although unexpected or potentially dangerous testimony will often evoke a redirect. After the witness goes through this process, he or she is thanked and dismissed.

The process of calling a witness tends to be rather complex. Usually, lawyers meet with the witnesses they call before the trial starts, to cover the questions that the witness will likely be asked, along with his or her responses to those questions. While explicit coaching and an incitement to commit perjury are not legal, a lawyer can certainly review testimony with a witness to make it stronger. As a general rule, once a witness in on the stand, the lawyer who called that witness will not ask a question that he or she does not know the answer to. The idea is to present the evidence of the witness to the jury in a convincing way, not to collect new information.

After a lawyer examines his or her own witness, the witness is turned over to the opposition for cross-examination. During cross examination, the lawyer will ask a series of questions which are designed to elicit more information from the witness. Although common in courtroom dramas, unexpected revelations during cross examination are actually quite rare. Usually, the opposing lawyer simply tries to undermine the credibility of the witness.

Once cross examination is complete, the judge offers an opportunity to redirect to the original lawyer. Typically, the lawyer may only ask questions about material which came up in the cross examination during the redirect. This is because the opposing lawyer will not have an opportunity to deal with new or unexpected information from that witness.

Especially in a case where the opposition has tried to undermine credibility, the redirection is an important chance for the lawyer to re-establish key facts and information. For example, if the opposition assaults the eyesight of the witness, the lawyer may clarify the issue in the redirect, indicating that the witness could see the events perfectly well. Or, in a case where professional qualifications are called into doubt, the lawyer may make it clear that the witness is an expert in his or her field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Redirect in Court?

A redirect is a type of inquiry employed in court proceedings. It is a way for an attorney to ask supplemental questions of a witness after they have already been questioned by the opposing side. This is done to clear up any aspects that were not covered in the initial inquiry or to challenge the witness’s answers or evidence. Redirect examination is generally used to make clear discrepancies or to further investigate points that were raised in the cross-examination.

When does a Redirect occur in Court?

A redirect usually takes place after the opposing side has finished their questioning of a witness. The lawyer who called the witness will then have the chance to ask supplemental questions. This is done to guarantee that all of the important points have been addressed and to make sure that the witness’s evidence is clear and consistent.

What is the purpose of a Redirect in Court?

A redirect is used to clarify any discrepancies in the witness' testimony or to look into issues that were brought up during cross-examination. Also, it is used to refute any claims made by the witness that may not be truthful or correct. A Redirect enables the attorney to follow up with further inquiries to ensure that the witness' statement is coherent and clear.

Who is allowed to ask questions during a Redirect?

The lawyer who originally called the witness is the only one with the right to question them during a redirect. Only this attorney is allowed to refute any statements made by the witness or to raise further inquiries that are pertinent to the case. A Redirect prevents the opposing side from presenting any questions to the moderator.

What happens after a Redirect in Court?

After a redirect has been completed, the court will usually permit the opposing side to ask extra questions or make a statement. This is known as a re-cross examination. The court will next determine whether the witness has completed their testimony after the re-cross examination. If so, the court will go on to the next witness or continue with the final remarks.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a MyLawQuestions researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By JessicaLynn — On Sep 27, 2011

@strawCake - Well, not all witnesses are credible. Some lie for whatever reason. Also, I read somewhere that eye witness testimony is often inaccurate. So although it stinks that an attorney might try to discredit a witness, sometimes it needs to be done.

I'm a little surprised that new information doesn't come out during the cross-examination very often. Court is much more dramatic on television I guess!

By strawCake — On Sep 26, 2011

I'm glad I've never been called to be a witness during a court case. The whole process sounds, well, it just sounds mean!

I would hate to be on the witness stand and have the other attorney try to discredit my testimony. It just doesn't seem right! Most of the time, witnesses don't really have a stake in the court case. They're just there because they happened to see something. It seems unfair to call their credibility into question after they took the time out of their day to participate in the legal proceedings.

I guess it's good that the other attorney is able to do a redirect and maybe clarify a few things. But I still don't like this whole idea!

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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