Civil Litigation-Rule on Witnesses

If you have ever been in a courtroom in which multiple witnesses are potentially going to testify, you may recall the judge asking whether there is a request for a rule on witnesses. The rule on witnesses means that witnesses who have not testified should not be in the courtroom. That rule does not apply to the parties to the litigation. This means the plaintiff and the defendant in a civil case both have a right to be present, even though they may testify as witnesses. However, witnesses who have not yet testified may be excluded from the courtroom until they testify. In addition, this rule on witnesses may be extended to prohibit anyone from talking to witnesses about what is going on in the courtroom until that witness gives his or her testimony. A violation of that rule on witnesses may result in a witness being excluded from testifying. The purpose of this rule is to prevent one witness' testimony from being influenced by what another witness has said in the courtroom.

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