Questioning means being asked questions by the opposing lawyer or opposing party about a legal matter or a sworn document. It will not be held in a courtroom but in a court reporter or lawyer’s office. Every question asked and every answer given is recorded and a transcript of the witness’s testimony is later prepared.
Questioning is a process that may occur at any point in a legal matter, but most frequently takes place if your matter is going to trial or arbitration.
Questioning can serve several important purposes. It allows each side to learn what evidence the other party may use at trial. This helps to ensure that neither party will be surprised at trial and is important as we do not practice ‘trial by ambush’ in Alberta. Questioning can bolster a client’s case if the witness provides evidence helpful to the client. More generally, Questioning also allows each party to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case and in this way, can promote settlement discussions. Significantly, Questioning helps us determine how the parties will present in court and whether they will be considered credible.
It is completely natural to feel nervous if you are going to be Questioned by the other party or the party’s lawyer. Before going to a Questioning, it is our practice to have a lengthy meeting with clients in order to prepare them by discussing the process and procedures of Questioning in detail. We also make sure to go through some practice questions with you in order to help you to understand the process and prepare in advance.