'Litigation' is the term used to describe the procedures leading up to and including the hearing of a dispute in court. The normal course of a trial is that the party bringing the case puts its evidence and arguments first. In a criminal case, this means that the Prosecution presents its case first. In a non-criminal case, such as the Mabo litigation, it means that the plaintiffs put their evidence and submissions to the court first.
The first witness for the plaintiffs was Eddie Mabo. His evidence was given in response to questions put by Ron Castan QC and Bryan Keon Cohen. This is known as 'evidence-in-chief'. The opportunity is then given to the opposing party or parties to question the witness on his or her evidence-in-chief. These questions are known as 'cross-examination'. At the conclusion of the cross-examination, if the lawyer representing the witness believes that certain responses to the cross-examination require clarification, then they may ask additional questions of their witness. This is known as 're-examination'.
Keywords: Castan, Ron, hearsay, Keon-Cohen, Bryan, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs, witnesses
Author: Kenna, Jonathan