What happens at an HRTO hearing?

4. Question witnesses and show evidence

As the Applicant, your witnesses testify first. When all your witnesses are finished, the Respondent's witnesses testify.

Each of your witnesses will be asked questions in this order:

  1. You ask your witness questions, which is called “examination in chief” or “”.
  2. The Respondent asks your witness questions, which is called “cross-examination”.
  3. You ask your witness follow-up questions, which is called “re-examination”. In re-examination you can only ask questions about things that came up during cross-examination. You cannot bring up new issues that did not come up during cross-examination. You cannot repeat issues from your examination in chief.
  4. The member may ask the witness questions.

For the Respondent's witnesses the process is reversed. The Respondent asks questions first, then you, and so on.

You’re also a witness

You're a witness at the hearing. You will usually be the first witness. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will ask you questions for your examination in chief.

But if you don't have a lawyer, you need to be prepared to just tell your story on your own.

Show documents and other evidence

Any documents or evidence that you want to use in the hearing must be officially identified by a witness while the witness is testifying. You also do this when you're a witness.

The witness must have personal knowledge about the document or evidence.

For example, if the evidence is a photo, the witness should be able to answer questions like this:

  • Do you recognize this photo?
  • Who took this photo?
  • When was it taken?
  • What is shown in this photo?
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