Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now
A witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know.
A percipient witness (or eyewitness) is one with knowledge obtained through his or her own senses (e.g., visual perception, hearing, smell, touch). That perception might be either with the unaided human sense or with the aid of an instrument, such as microscope or stethoscope.
A hearsay witness is one who testifies about what someone else said or wrote. In most court proceedings there are many limitations on when hearsay evidence is admissible. Such limitations do not apply to grand jury investigations, many administrative proceedings, and may not apply to declarations used in support of an arrest or search warrant. Also some types of statements are not deemed to be hearsay and are not subject to such limitations.
An expert witness is one who allegedly has specialized knowledge relevant to the matter of interest, which knowledge purportedly helps to either make sense of other evidence, including other testimony, documentary evidence or physical evidence (e.g., a fingerprint). An expert witness may or may not also be a percipient witness, as in a doctor or may or may not have treated the victim of an accident or crime.
A reputation witness is one who testifies about the reputation of a person or business entity, when reputation is material to the dispute at issue. They are a person who aids that because of a persons interactions and personality the defendant is guilty/innocent
In law a witness might be compelled to provide testimony in court, before a grand jury, before an administrative tribunal, before a deposition officer, or in a variety of other legal proceedings. A subpoena is a legal document that commands a person to appear at a proceeding. It is used to compel the testimony of a witness in a trial. Usually, it can be issued by a judge or by the lawyer representing the plaintiff or the defendant in a civil trial or by the prosecutor or the defense attorney in a criminal proceeding, or by a government agency. In many jurisdictions, it is compulsory to comply and with the subpoena and either take an oath or solemely affirm to testify truthfully under penalty of perjury.
Although informally a witness includes whoever perceived the event, in law, a witness is different from an informant. A confidential informant is someone who claimed to have witnessed an event or have hearsay information, but whose identity is being withheld from at least one party (typically the criminal defendant). The information from the confidential informant may have been used by a police officer or other official acting as a hearsay witness to obtain a search warrant.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. J

    NSW What Legal Service is Available to Witness an Event to Prevent Workplace Harassment , Malice or Incompetence?

    I have an event scheduled in the future where some professionals are to ask me some questions for a thesis defence. I have had some previous experience where staff members at another university bullied me and repeatedly lied and asked some sophistic questions to undermine my performance. Is...
  2. J

    NSW Influence Witness

    Please provide some relevant case law.
  3. J

    NSW Intimidate witness

    Can starting defamation legal proceedings for false accusations against a witness in a criminal matter be considered inimidating a witness when you are the accused?
  4. J

    NSW False police reports or witness statements do not attract absolute privlede until they are produced in court. Is that correct?

    False police reports or witness statements do not attract absolute privlede until they are produced in court. Is that correct?
  5. M

    QLD Witness conflict of interest

    In a Family Court trial can the other party Subpoena a witness to give evidence if you have a legal matter in place with that witness. Is this a conflict of interest?
  6. kingofmeereen

    QLD Does an employer owe a duty of care that their employee is mentally healthy?

    Like for example, a paramedic or a police are expected to witness very brutal scenes. Do their employers owe them a duty of care in ensuring they are still mentally healthy and if not and they do suffer some form of psychiatric injury, will they be entitled to sue their employer for compensation?
  7. M

    WA Witness Statement Error

    Good day to you. I would like to ask this on behalf of my friend who is being summoned by the prosecution as a witness to attend a hearing next month. As she was also the victim of the case, she recorded the statement when she was in trauma. As a result of that, there was quite a number of...
  8. N

    QLD won 2million/lost ticket have witness ? not investigated

    i have posted ages ago about my win (where i lost unregistered ticket) preceding a tragic event but now have two witnesses that purchased either side of me how lucky but not the lott nor the justice department although they know of these witnesses proceeded to prove this win how unfair is this...
  9. P

    Expert witness for IP issue

    Is the main task of an expert witness only to provide his/her opinion on if he/she see the disputed confidential information or IP is used in suspect product as fact witness? I guess that fact witness expert is not on the position to provide opinion on how the method or technical stuff or IP...
  10. S


    I have a Civil trial coming up in December 2019 regarding a boundary retaining wall dispute and I am self-represented. ON the issue of admissable evidence, is an email from a public servant ( stating the departments' position ) admissable without further ado? Or, does such an email only...