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Giving evidence

What you’ll be asked to do

When you are called to give evidence, a member of staff, usually the tribunal assistant, will take you to the hearing room and show you to the witness desk.

You’ll then be asked to take a religious oath, or make an affirmation about the truth of your evidence (see below).

The chair of the tribunal will then introduce themselves and others involved in the hearing.

You’ll find a microphone on the desk in front of you, which you should speak into. The microphones record our hearings.

How to give evidence

It helps if you:

  • take your time to think about the questions you’re asked
  • tell the tribunal if you don’t understand a question or don’t know the answer
  • speak clearly and slowly into the microphone.

What you’ll be asked about

First, you’ll be asked to confirm your name and if what you’ve said in your witness statement is true. This will be asked by the legal representative for the GMC or doctor – whichever has called you as a witness. They may ask questions about your statement.

After this, the representative acting on behalf of the other party is likely to ask you questions about your statement. This is often referred to as cross examination. The tribunal may have questions too. 

While you’re giving your evidence, you may be shown documents. Some of these may be documents you have not seen before. You should take your time to read each document before answering any questions. Let us know if you are having difficulty locating a document you are referred to and a member of staff will help you. 

Breaks in the hearing

The hearing will adjourn (break) from time to time. This can be for things like comfort breaks or lunch, or at the end of each day if the hearing lasts more than one day.

It can also break if you feel that you need a break from giving evidence. If that is the case, just let us know.

Please remember: you must not talk to anyone about the case or about your evidence during any breaks. This includes anyone involved with the case, as well as your friends or family. 

If you do speak to others, it could have a serious effect on the outcome of the hearing.

Religious oaths and declarations 

You may choose to swear an oath on any of the following holy books: 

  • Christian – New Testament 
  • Hindu – Gita
  • Jewish – Tanakh 
  • Muslim – Quran 
  • Sikh –  Sundar Gutka

Alternatively, the following religious declarations are available:

  • Buddhist declaration 
  • Affirmation for Moravian witnesses 
  • Affirmation for Quakers 

Non-religious affirmations

You can make a general affirmation – this is a non-religious declaration, which affirms your intention to tell the truth while giving evidence.

If you have any questions about taking an oath or making an affirmation, please speak to a member of our staff or the representative that has asked you to give evidence.