Bob is a self-represented plaintiff in a civil case (or, say, private prosecutor in a criminal case). He is also a witness. If the trial is judge-alone aka bench (not jury), he is able to conduct it himself.

At the hearing/trial, Bob (in his capacity as the plaintiff/prosecutor) says:

Your Honour, I call myself.

— and goes to the witness box to be examined by... himself.

Now what? Does he ask himself questions and give answers? Or does he just make statements of fact?

(Any common law jurisdiction)

1 Answer 1


It depends on the judge. Both narrative and question-answer formats can be required.

Under the narrative format, the defendant gives their statement. The prosecution can then cross-examine.

Under the question-answer format, the defendant plays both the role of themself and the role of their representative. They ask questions to themselves then answer. This was used in United States v. Nivica, 887 F.2d 1110 (1st Cir. 1989).

  • Is ther actual law giving the Judge this flexibility, or is this a matter of judicial custom and precedent. Or perhaps there are judicial rules of procedure that cover this? In any case, what is the source of authority for this option? Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:15
  • This answer talks about the defendant, but the question is about a plaintiff or prosecutor. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:31
  • @user2357112supportsMonica Correct. But I accept that the answer is "It depends on the judge" unless someone proves otherwise.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 22:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .