What is a witness?
A witness is a person that appears in Court to give evidence to support your case. Your witness should have personal knowledge of your action.
What are expert witnesses?
Experts are the only witnesses who are allowed to give evidence about their opinions. These may include mechanics, doctors, engineers, appraisers, carpenters, repairmen, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other.
How do I make sure my witnesses come to court?
If you have any witnesses, they may agree to come to Court voluntarily. To ensure a witness attends Court, complete and file a Notice to Attend as a Witness and provide a witness allowance.
If you need an interpreter for your witness you will be required to hire and pay the costs for an interpreter. For more detailed information contact your local Alberta Court of Justice Office.
For detailed information and step by step instructions review the Notice to Attend as a Witness.
After completing and filing the Notice to Attend as a Witness you must also do the following:
The filed Notice to Attend as a Witness must be served on the witness at least 21 days before the Trial date along with the applicable witness allowance.
- The Notice to Attend as a Witness and witness allowance must be served on the witness by either:
- personal service; or
- by recorded mail addressed to the witness, and have an acknowledgment of receipt signed by the witness.
- If you are serving a police officer with a Notice to Attend as a Witness, it is recommended that you contact your local Alberta Court of Justice Office for more information. Police officers and government staff are not permitted to accept witness allowances in exchange for their testimony.
- Once the Notice to Attend as a Witness and the witness allowance has been served, the person who served the Notice must complete an Affidavit of Service of the Notice to Attend as a Witness and it must be sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths, Justice of the Peace or Notary Public in and for Alberta. The Clerks at any Provincial Court Office may commission your documents for you, at no charge and you will be required to produce photo identification. The sworn Affidavit of Service must be filed in the Court location where the trial is being held.
For detailed information and step by step instructions review the Affidavit of Service of the Notice to Attend as a Witness.
You should contact the Alberta Court of Justice Office immediately if you discover that you or a witness will be unavailable on the date of your trial.
Are there expenses to file a Notice to Attend as a Witness?
There are no filing fees to file a Notice to Attend as a Witness with the Court, but you are required to pay a witness allowance to the witness and serve it along with the Notice to Attend as a Witness.
For further information regarding witness fees and allowances see the Alberta Court of Justice Civil Procedure Regulation, Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expense Policy or contact your local Alberta Court of Justice Office.
Will I get back the witness allowance that I paid to the witness?
If you are successful at the end of the trial, the Justice may order that the other party pays the witness allowance as part of the Judgment awarded to you.
What is testimony and how do I question witnesses?
To give testimony is to declare or give evidence under oath or affirmation based on personal knowledge of the action.
The Justice may ask the witnesses to leave the courtroom until they are required to give testimony. Each party has the opportunity to present their case and to cross-examine the witnesses of the other party.
Questioning witnesses usually happens this way:
You ask your witness questions to bring out what they know about the action. Prepare the questions before the hearing. They should be as short and simple as possible. Remember that you must ask questions, not just make statements.
The other party asks your witness questions. The purpose of cross-examination is to bring out inconsistencies or missed facts in the witness’s evidence. When a witness is being examined, making notes will help you to cross-examine.
You have the opportunity to ask your witness about statements made during the cross-examination. Only questions related to what the witness said during cross-examination are allowed. No new facts may be brought in.
- Summation / Final Argument
The parties briefly outline their cases before the Justice makes a decision.