leading question

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A leading question is a type of questioning in which the form of the question suggests the answer. In general, leading questions are not allowed during the direct examination of a witness and. If leading questions are asked during trial, it may result in the opposing attorney making an objection, which a judge is likely to sustain. However, leading questions are allowed on the cross-examination of a witness. Rule 611(c) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, lists the situations in which leading questions are appropriate, which include on cross-examination, when dealing with preliminary matters, when there is difficulty eliciting testimony from a witness, and when a hostile or adverse witness is being questioned.

[Last updated in June of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]