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Giving evidence in court: Home Office guidance

The guidance is directed to the Home Office’s own staff — a pertinent issue following these recent reported cases: Immigration officials caught lying on oath — but it is sound guidance for any witness attending court. I particularly liked this bit:

Some may even accuse you of lying. This can be extremely upsetting. It is important to remember this is a standard operating technique, not a personal attack. Even though you may feel such allegations are unworthy and unethical, you must appreciate the lawyer probably cannot find any other grounds for attacking you or your colleagues.

Do not take defence attacks on your integrity personally, you can only deal with these assertions effectively by remaining calm. Respond firmly and courteously, do not:

  • become emotional
  • get angry, or
  • lose your temper.

As a general rule, the more rude and outrageous the questioner, the more cool, calm and collected you must be, the person who remains reasonable and composed will gain more respect and credibility.

Colin Yeo
Colin Yeo A barrister specialising in UK immigration law at Garden Court Chambers in London, I have been practising in immigration law for 15 years. I am passionate about immigration law and founded and edit the Free Movement immigration law blog.

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