Pretty straightforward question, really: what are the topical constraints of cross examination with reference to examination?

Suppose party A calls witness W to the stand to ask them questions about the alleged motive and means for the crime.

Party B now cross examines W but would like to use the opportunity to raise points rather about W’s whereabouts and possible alibi so the questions B would ask W in CE actually have nothing to do with those asked of W by A shortly before. Are they nonetheless allowed?

2 Answers 2


On cross-examination any relevant questions can be asked.

It is re-examination that is confined to clarifying whatever new questions/issues were raised during cross.

  • Is re examination entitled to be followed up by further cross examination? Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 3:24
  • 2
    @Seekinganswers No. That's exactly why it is confined. But the judge may make exceptions at their discretion.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 3:25

Counsel can ask relevant questions on cross. However, what was asked in direct can be a factor as to what is considered "relevant" on cross, so there are situations where what can be asked on cross is dictated by direct. For instance, if a party wants to ask a witness how old their children are, that question is much more likely to be allowed as relevant if the other party already asked the witness questions about their children. Asking a witness about their possible alibi is quite likely to not be allowed if a foundation hasn't been laid, but the question of foundation is present in both direct and cross.

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