How-To conduct an examination-in-chief on the UK Bar Course

April 28, 2022

This video is going to be focusing on examination-in-chief (XIC). Examination-in-chief is a common advocacy exercise that students will be expected to perform on the bar course, and it’s likely going to be found on the Criminal Litigation module or a separate “Skills” module.

This video will explain what examination-in-chief is, the reason that we have it during a trial and how to successfully conduct a examination-in-chief during your training as a barrister.

What is Examination-in-chief?

It is a type of questioning which is conducted during a trial when witnesses are called in to give evidence. They will be called to give their account of what happened by the party who is seeking to rely on their evidence. Whatever the witnesses go on to say will form their evidence in the trial. Remember to refresh your memory on the order of a trial.  Typically the XIC of Prosecution witnesses will take place furst, followed by the Defence cross-examining (XX) these witnesses. There will be a separate video on XX. After all Prosecution witnesses have given evidence, the Defence will conduct an examination-in-chief of the Defendant to get their account as well.

There is a separate article and video on cross-examination.

How do we conduct an examination-in-chief?

To effectively do this, there are several things that you, as a student will need to remember and they can be broadly broken down into 3 or 4 categories, depending on who you are questioning.

  1. Keep in mind your questioning technique
  2. Ensure that you get the witness’s account, or if you are acting for the Defence, the Defendant’s account
  3. This will only apply for the Defence’s examination-in-chief of the Defendant- you must “put” the Prosecution’s case to the Defendant for comment
  4. Examination-in-chief is your opportunity to introduce exhibits, to demonstrate that you know the procedure for witness memory refreshing and it will also test your ability to use the exhibits which have already been introduced or even the ones which you have introduced to the court.

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