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Detailed guidance on XX

The most in-depth analysis of all aspects of cross-examination that I have been able to find is Prems Cross Examination, published in 1941. It is written in the language of the time, and at 800 pages, purely on cross, it is about as authoritative as you can get! The book brings together all of the advice given by great cross-examiners and authors on books of advocacy over about a 150 year period, divided into specific subject areas. The great thing about Prems though is the examples - each chapter will bring together various observations regarding an aspect of cross-examination, and this is then followed by illustrations drawn from actual cases. Lawyers are hard-wired to respond to stories, and a lot of these illustrations are actually pretty funny and easy to remember so you learn the lessons from the chapters by remembering the stories attached to them. 

Whilst the book includes a lot of very useful content, not all of it is applicable nowadays. So, for example, the book contains sample cross examination questions in relation to specific offences, but as the law relating to those offences and societies view of these offences has often changed quite radically, I haven't included links to those, as they probably wouldn't be appropriate. However, I have provided links to all the chapters that offer general advice on aspects of cross-examination as they include a lot of very useful information that is still likely to be highly relevant to barristers today.  If you click on the chapter headings then this should open up a pdf of that chapter.(Copyright is obviously with Prem) The chapter headings are:

The object of XX

The causes of falsehood in human testimony

The importance of XX

Common sense in cross

Preparation for cross-examination

How to become a successful cross-examiner

How and where to begin your cross-examination

 Issues to bear in mind -Abuse of XX

Dangers of unnecessary or reckless cross-examination

Dangers of too little cross-examination

Avoid bullying or badgering cross-examination

Persuasive cross-examination

Dealing with a lengthy cross-examination

Silent XX

Avoid compound, misleading or dubious cross-examination questions

Avoid legal and technical expressions in your cross-examination

Don't let witnesses be cheeky with you

Never lose your temper

The dangers of repeating questions in cross-examination

Do not distort facts in XX

Do not make personal references in court

Do not get elated on partial success

Avoid leading the witness to an absurd position

Boldness and courage of counsel

Illustrations and examples of boldness by counsel

Protection of cross-examining counsel

How judges and counsel should behave

Prem's Cross-Examination cites from numerous well known texts on advocacy and I have provided links to free copies of those texts, which include:

Cox's Advocate,

Wellman's the Art of Cross-Examination,

Harris' Illustrations in Advocacy

Wrottesley on the Examination of Witnesses,

Harris's Hints on Advocacy,

Sarkar's Hints on Modern Advocacy and Cross Examination,

Donovan's Tact in Court,

Sergeant Ballantine's Experiences of a Barrister's Life,

Please bear in mind that whilst these authors were highly experienced advocates, they also reflect the language and attitudes of the time, including language and attitudes that would  rightly nowadays be considered offensive, particularly towards women, people of colour and Jewish people. Wellman, for example, in his description of female witnesses, clearly has little understanding of women! So whilst the above advocates can pass on a lot of useful experiences and also provide specific examples of cross-examination techniques being used, anything concerning social attitudes or the law of evidence may be safely ignored as irrelevant in a modern context.

That said, if there are any QC's that fancy updating Prem's with modern examples of cross examination techniques, covering the period of 1942-the present, that would be really handy!


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