Explain Examination-in-Chief, Cross-examination and Re-examination also discuss their scope and limits



Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order has provided three stages for recording of oral evidence. Among these stages, first stage is examination-in-chief, second stage is cross-examination, and third stage is re-examination. First of all witness is produced for examination-In-chief, then he/she has to go through cross-examination if adverse party desires his/her cross-examination, and lastly he/she can be re-examined if anything has been left in examination-in-chief and party, which has called him/her, desires his/her re-examination.

1. Examination-in-chief

Examination of some witness by that party, who calls him/her, is called his/her examination-in-chief.

Examination in chief
Examination in chief

Explanation of Examination-in-Chief

Following points are important for explanation and scope and limit of examination-in-chief:

  • (i) How can examination-in-chief be held?
  • (ii) Relevant facts
  • (iii) Refreshing of memory
  • (iv) Leading questions
  • (v) Facts within personal knowledge
  • (vi) Purpose of examination-in-chief

(1) How Can Examination-in-chief Be Held?

Settled principle is that counsel should not suggest witness what he/she is to say. In fact, witness should be left with minimum interruption from counsel to tell what he/she wants to tell.

(ii) Relevant Facts

Examination-in-chief should relate to relevant facts.

(iii) Refreshing Of Memory

If witness suffers lapse of memory during examination-in-chief, he/she can be allowed to refresh his/her memory about that written document, which he/she has made at time of transaction.

(iv) Leading Questions

If adverse party objects, leading questions should not be asked during examination-in-chief. However, such questions can be asked with permission of court.

(v) Facts within Personal Knowledge

Facts, which witness deposes during examination-in-chief, should be within personal knowledge of witness. In other words, hearsay evidence is not allowed in examination-in-chief.

(vi) Purpose of Examination-in-chief

Purpose of examination-in-chief is to present all relevant and material facts to court so that court can make right judgment about dispute between parties.


2. Cross-examination


Examination of some witness by adverse party is called his/her cross-examination.

Explanation of Cross-examination

Following points are important for explanation and scope and limit of cross-examination:


  • (i) Valuable right
  • (ii) Relevant facts
  • (iii) Cross-examination of person, who has been called to produce document
  • (iv) Cross-examination of witness to character
  • (v) Cross-examination about previous written statement
  • (vi) Questions, which are lawful in cross-examination
  • (vii) Failure to cross-examination
  • (viii) Leading question
  • (ix) Objects


(i) Valuable Right

Right to cross-examination is not just an empty formality. In fact, it is considered valuable right because it is to discover truth.

(ii) Relevant Facts

Cross-examination should relate to relevant facts. However, it is not necessary that cross-examination shoul be confined to those facts to which witness has testified during his/her examination-in-chief.

(iii) Cross-Examination of Person, Who Has Been Called To Produce Document

If some person has been summoned to produce document, he/she does not become witness by this mere fact that he/she produces it and cannot be cross-examined unless and until he/she is called as witness.

(iv) Cross-examination of Witness to Character

Witness to character can be cross-examined.

(v) Cross-examination about Previous Written Statement

Witness can be cross-examined about those previous statements, which he/she has made in writing or has reduced into writing, and which are relevant to matters in question.

(vi) Questions, Which Are Lawful In Cross-examination

Questions, which are to test witness’s veracity, to discover who he/she is and what is his/her position in life or to shake his credit, are considered lawful in cross-examination.

(vii)Failure to Cross-examination

When some portion of statement, which witness has stated in examination-in-chief, is not challenged during cross-examination, it is considered that opponent party admits such portion.

(viii) Leading Questions

Unlike examination-in-chief, leading questions can be asked during cross-examination.

(ix) Objects

To impeach credibility of witness, to impeach accuracy and general value of witness’s evidence in examination-in-chief, and to elicit concealed facts from witness are objects of cross-examination.

3. Re-examination

Re examination
Re examination

Examination of some witness by that party, who has called him/her, is called his/her re-examination, and it is subsequent to his/her cross-examination.

Explanation of Re-examination

Following points are important for explanation and scope and limit of re-examination:

  • (i) Explanation of matters
  • (ii) Cross-examination of new matter
  • (iii) Re-examination of witness to character
  • (iv) Leading questions
  • (v) Objects

(i) Explanation Of Matters

Re-examination should be about explanation of those matters, which have been referred to in cross-examination.

(ii) Cross-examination Of New Matter

If new matter is introdduced in re-examination, adverse party can further cross-examine this new matter.

(iii) Re-examination of Witness to Character

Witness to character can be re-examined.

(iv) Leading Questions

If adverse party objects, leading questions should not be asked during re-examination. However, such questions can be asked with permission of court.

(v) Objects

Object of re-examination is to clear that ambiguity, which has arisen upon cross-examination. However, it cannot be used by any party to make improvements in his/her examination-in-chief.


To conclude, it can be stated that Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order has provided an order for production and examination of witnesses. According to this order, witness can only be cross-examined when he/she has already been examined-in-chief. Similarly witness can only be re-examined when he/she has already be cross-examined.

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