Witness Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Witness?

(n) A witness is a person used in a law proceeding to verify the correctness of the arguments or testify the correctness of the findings of the case, or provide evidences leading to make a conclusion after testifying himself by an oath. The testimony given by the witness is used to ascertain the facts considering its merit and relative weight

History and Meaning of Witness

A witness is an individual who offers evidence in legal proceedings or in a deposition. In common law countries, a witness is a person who has information or knowledge about a crime or other legal matter that is within their personal perception. Witnesses are often called upon to provide factual testimony relating to legal events. In most cases, a witness must swear an oath or affirm that their testimony is truthful in order for it to be considered admissible evidence.

Examples of Witness

  • During the trial, the prosecutor called a witness to the stand to testify about what she saw on the night of the crime.
  • A witness was called to the stand to testify about the defendant's whereabouts at the time of the crime.
  • The accident was witnessed by several people who provided statements to the police officer.
  • In a civil case, a witness might be asked to testify about a company's accounting practices.

Legal Terms Similar to Witness

  • Expert Witness: An expert witness is a person who, by virtue of their education, training, or experience, is qualified to offer testimony about a particular subject or issue.
  • Hearsay: Hearsay is testimony that is offered by a witness who did not personally observe or experience the matter about which they are testifying.
  • Perjury: Perjury is the act of lying or giving false information while under oath, with the intention of deceiving a court or other legal authority.