Leading Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Leading, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Leading?

(v) Leading is the method of questioning by which a person can answer them in the way expected by the questioner. Such leading method is resorted to help the witness to remember the issue. eg. Attorney asking his question, ‘was it about 5 in the evening, you saw the fight between the parties’ , the answer can be a clear ‘yes’. Leading questions to own witness are generally disallowed by the judges.

History and Meaning of Leading

Leading is a legal term that refers to a method of questioning that involves asking a witness a question in a way that suggests or leads them to a specific answer. This technique is used to help a witness remember a particular detail or to clarify a point. However, leading questions to one's own witness are generally prohibited by courts as they can suggest the answer to the witness and constitute a leading question that risks perverting the course of justice.

Examples of Leading

  1. During a trial, a prosecutor might ask a witness, "Isn't it true that the defendant was holding a weapon when he approached the victim?"
  2. A defense attorney might ask their own witness, "You saw the defendant acting in self-defense, didn't you?"
  3. A police officer questioning a suspect might ask, "You were driving the car when it hit the pedestrian, weren't you?"

Legal Terms Similar to Leading

  • Cross-examination: the process of questioning a witness in a trial or hearing who has already given testimony in order to test or discredit his or her testimony.
  • Direct examination: the first questioning of a witness at trial by the party that called him or her, with the purpose of eliciting testimony that the party believes will help their case.
  • Suggestive questioning: manipulating the way that a question is asked in order to guide the witness towards the desired answer.