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An objection is a formal protest raised by a party or counsel during a legal proceeding asserting that an error, contrary to the rules of evidence or other procedural law, has been or will be made. The purpose of an objection is to provide the court with an opportunity to disallow the introduction of evidence, or to cure the defect at a time when the error may be readily corrected. Accordingly, failure to make an objection to the court in a clear, timely manner may preclude appellate review of the alleged error. See: Federal Rule of Evidence 103, California Evidence Code §353.  

Once an attorney makes an objection, the judge then makes a ruling:

  • If the judge sustains the objection, this means that the judge agrees with the objection and disallows the question, testimony, or evidence.
  • If the judge overrules the objection, this means that the judge disagrees with the objection and allows the question, testimony, or evidence.

Below are some common objections:

  • Irrelevant: The testimony pursuant to a question asked or the particular item of evidence is not relevant to the case.
  • The witness is incompetent.
  • Violation of the best evidence rule.
  • Violation of the hearsay rule.
  • Speculative: The opposing party’s question calls for the witness to speculate about something.
  • Leading question: The question posed by the opposing party seeks to lead the witness to make an assertion.
  • Violation of the parol evidence rule.
  • Repetitive: The question has already been asked and answered.

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