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Opening Address in a Trial

The opening address is an important part of a trial. The jury members are keen to learn what the trial is all about. First impressions are important, and so what your lawyer says at first is very important.

Who makes an opening address?

Your lawyer and the prosecution will have an opportunity to make an opening address.

An opening address by the prosecution is an outline of the charges and the evidence the prosecutor intends to present in your trial.

Your lawyer’s opening address will be an outline of the issues that will arise in the trial. The opening address is limited generally to the matters raised in the prosecutor’s opening address, matters that are in dispute and those that are not, as well as any matters you would like to raise.

If you intend to give evidence or to call any witness in support of your defence, you will be entitled to open the case (tell the jury what your defence is going to establish) before calling evidence, regardless of whether or not an address has been made to the jury earlier.

What is the purpose of opening addresses?

The purpose of opening addresses is to provide the jury with an understanding of the evidence that will be given throughout the trial.

When are opening addresses made?

Opening addresses are made at the beginning of trial, after the jury has been empanelled. The judge will ask the prosecution to present its opening address and inform the jury that the address is to help them understand the evidence that is to follow, and that what is said in the opening address is not evidence. When the prosecutor finishes, the judge will then ask your lawyer to make an opening address and also remind the jury the purpose of your address and that what you say in your address is not evidence.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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