Can you refuse to answer a question in court? (2023)

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What to say in court if you don t want to answer a question?

"I'm sorry but I'm not able to speak to that subject" "Thanks for asking but I'm not able to answer that question" "I'm sorry but that information is proprietary"

Can a witness choose not to answer a question?

The testimony would incriminate yourself – Under the Fifth Amendment in the Constitution, you have the right to avoid giving any evidence that could self-incriminate you. In most cases, you can plead the Fifth Amendment, which legally allows you to refuse answering questions.

What to say to a judge if you don't know the answer?

If you don't know the answer, say “I don't know,” and offer, with the court's permission, to provide the answer after oral argument, with a copy to opposing counsel.

Can lawyers force you to answer yes or no?

If an attorney demands a “yes” or “no” answer and you can not give one, let the judge know that, and explain that to do so would be misleading to the court or inaccurate. If your answer was not correctly stated, correct it immediately. If your answer was not clear, clarify it immediately.

Do you have to answer yes or no questions in court?

Give the answer in your own words, and if a question can't be truthfully answered with "yes" or "no," you have the right to explain your answer. Answer only the question asked you.

Can you answer I don't remember in court?

Lawyers may also tell witnesses that if they don't remember certain events, they can simply say “I don't recall.” In general, such instructions are not improper. A witness cannot, however, repeatedly answer “I don't recall” to avoid truthfully answering questions.

Can I plead the 5th when subpoenaed?

An individual can only invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to a communication that is compelled, such as through a subpoena or other legal process. The communication must also be testimonial in nature. In other words, it must relate to either express or implied assertions of fact or belief.

Do you have to testify in court if you don't want to?

Yes, you must go even if you don't want to. The letter that you get asking you to be a witness is from the court and so you have to do what they ask. You are probably being asked to give evidence, because you have important evidence to give or because it will be in the interest of justice for you to do so.

Is a witness required to answer all questions that are given to him?


A witness must answer questions, although his answer may tend to establish a claim against him.

What should you do if the judge is asking you a question?

Listen carefully to the questions you are asked. If you don't understand the question, have it repeated, then give a thoughtful, considered answer. DO NOT GIVE AN ANSWER WITHOUT THINKING. While answers should not be rushed, neither should there be any unnaturally long delay to a simple question if you know the answer.

Can a judge disrespect you?

Judicial conduct oversight should not attempt to regulate purely personal aspects of a judge's life. However, a judge can commit misconduct by engaging in personal behaviour that calls their judicial integrity into question.

How do you win a judge's favor?

How to Persuade a Judge
  1. Your arguments must make logical sense. ...
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Know your case.
  4. Know your adversary's case.
  5. Never overstate your case. ...
  6. If possible lead with the strongest argument.
  7. Select the most easily defensible position that favors your case.
  8. Don't' try to defend the indefensible.
Nov 1, 2008

Can a lawyer object to an answer if they asked the question?

The real legal world is rarely as tense an active as courtroom dramas would have you believe. For example, your attorney is bound by the law when objecting to questions: he may only interrupt if the question is irrelevant or improper. If the answer hurts your case, but is relevant, there is legally nothing he can do.

Why shouldnt you say anything without a lawyer?

You should never talk to the police without first consulting an attorney. Police officers are trained to obtain confessions, admissions and inconsistencies. If you are innocent, they will use inconsistencies in your statements as evidence of guilt.

What are lawyers not allowed to do?

Section 35 of the Advocates Act prohibits lawyers from holding the license to practice, if they engage in any other profession, job or business other than legal practice.

How do you answer difficult questions in court?

Luckily for you, there are some simple techniques you can use to buy that extra time you need before responding to a difficult question.
  1. Pause (Part 1). ...
  2. Repeat the question. ...
  3. Pause (Part 2). ...
  4. Ask the questioner to repeat their question. ...
  5. Clarify the question.
Feb 6, 2009

Is a judge allowed to ask questions?

The answer is yes. The judge has the discretion to control the courtroom and the trial. If he feels the need to interrupt you and continue questioning the witness, he can do that. An awkward situation arises when the judge begins to ask questions that may not be entirely appropriate.

Does memory hold up in court?

This distinction between the perception and reality of memory has important consequences in the context of the courtroom. In the legal system, like among the general public, it is generally assumed that memory is highly accurate and largely indelible, at least in the case of 'strong' memories.

Is it I don't recall or I don't remember?

I don't remember,” “I don't recall,” and “I don't recall at the present time” are all perfectly good responses. If true, the best is, “I don't recall at the present time,” because it makes it easier to change your answer if you later do recall. Keep in mind the difference between “I don't know” and “I don't recall.”

Can I plead the fifth as a witness?

Pleading the Fifth as a Witness

You also have the right to plead the Fifth when you are a witness in a federal criminal case. Much like with a defendant, a witness may refuse to answer any questions that might tend to implicate them in a crime.

Does pleading the fifth mean you're guilty?

Taking the fifth is a colloquial term, not a legal one. Often when a person takes the fifth, they actually say something to the effect of: "I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me." While this sounds like an admission of guilt, it isn't one, at least not legally.

Can a judge overrule pleading the 5th?

For example, if a witness invokes the Fifth but goes on to selectively answer questions about the same subject matter, a judge might decide that the later answers invalidate the initial waiver.

Can you plead the fifth to some questions and answer others?

In fact, if your testimony would incriminate you in any way, it may be in your best interest to invoke your Fifth Amendment right. Keep in mind, however, that pleading the fifth applies to your entire testimony—this means that you cannot choose to answer some questions and refuse to answer others.

Can you say no comment in court as a witness?

Right to refuse to answer a question

The right to refuse is known as a privilege. Privilege applies in the following situations: Privilege against self-incrimination: means that you can refuse to answer questions or hand over documents that may implicate you in criminal proceedings.

Can I be forced to give a witness statement?

If you're the victim or witness of a crime, you may be asked to make a witness statement.

Can I withdraw my witness statement?

If you withdraw your statement, the case might still go to court if the police think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. If you want to withdraw your statement because you're worried about giving evidence, you should tell the police how you feel.

What is a good excuse to get out of court?

A valid emergency can serve as an excuse for missing a court date. Some examples of legitimate emergencies include: An emergency room visit for a sudden, debilitating medical condition. A sick child.

How do you say no comment in court?

Here are 20 ways to say 'no comment' (with an emphasis on matters of law):
  1. I am hard pressed to comment on a lawsuit we haven't yet seen.
  2. We have an obligation to be fair, thorough and professional. ...
  3. We will not cut corners in the interest of public curiosity.
Feb 26, 2017

How do you respond to a court question?

Listen carefully to the questions you are asked. If you don't understand the question, have it repeated, then give a thoughtful, considered answer. DO NOT GIVE AN ANSWER WITHOUT THINKING. While answers should not be rushed, neither should there be any unnaturally long delay to a simple question if you know the answer.

Can you ask to settle out of court?

Settlement is possible at any time and can even take place once a trial has commenced. The key to successful out of court negotiation is timing and a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and commercial reality.

How do you avoid staying in court?

you can first mention under which law stay is granted. If it is of CPC then we can file appeal before appellate court under O 43 R 1. You can approach HC directly to stop execution of the stay order.

What is a misleading question in court?

A misleading question is one which assumes as true a fact not yet testified to by the witness, or contrary to that which he has previously stated.

How do you beat a judge?

3 Ways to Win Over a Judge Before Showing up in the Court
  1. Submitting a clear, well-written, well-researched brief. This is critical, considering that your brief sets the stage for your case. ...
  2. Playing well with opposing counsel. The last thing judges want to do is mediate playground disputes. ...
  3. Knowing your judge.
Nov 5, 2018

What words can you not say in court?

Words like "rape," "victim," "crime scene," "killer," "murder," "drunk," "homicide," "embezzle," "fraud," and "robbery" are now not allowed in some courtrooms. Language engineering like this usually has a social or political basis.

How do you decline a comment?

Develop and practice a few different stock phrases that stand in for "no comment" such as: "I'm sorry, but that information is confidential/proprietary." or I'm sorry, but I'm not able to answer that question at this time." or "I'd like to help you but unfortunately I can't." Once you've answered, stand your ground.

Do you have to answer questions in family court?


It is the judge who decides whether a question is relevant, not the witness. The judge will say if you don't need to answer a question. Otherwise, do!

What do judges say when someone is not guilty?

If a defendant is found not guilty, by the magistrate, jury or judge, they will be 'acquitted' and free to go. If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty by the judge or jury, they are convicted and the judge will pass sentence.

What do you say when you want to speak in court?

Wait to speak to the judge until you are spoken to.

If you must call for the judge's attention, wait until you can do so without interrupting anyone. Then stand and politely ask the judge, "Your Honor, may I be heard?" If you are not acknowledged, sit down.

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