What are the rules about witnesses?

I am pro se in a civil case and informed the other party's attorney about my witnesses. Now what? Can he contact them and talk to them or can he only talk to them in a depo? My witnesses are customers of the other party and don't want to speak with opposing counsel unless under subpoena. Also, do I have to disclose any contact or conversations I have with my witnesses?

Pompano Beach, FL -

Attorney Answers (3)

Clifford M. Miller

Clifford M. Miller

Litigation Lawyer - Vero Beach, FL

Nothing prohibits him from talking to the witnesses. However, they are not compelled to talk with him unless he subpoenas them to a deposition.

You should not advise the witnesses to not speak with the other lawyer. Be careful regarding your discussions with the witnesses. Remember that "tampering with the witness" is a crime.

You are not required to disclose any contact or conscious conversations you have with your witnesses. However, either you or the witnesses could be asked those questions during deposition or trial and answers could be compelled.

This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client... more
Michael T Millar

Michael T Millar

Litigation Lawyer - Toms River, NJ

An attorney is free to contact non-party fact witnesses. There is no requirement for subpoena or deposition.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education... more
Alan Jay Dion

Alan Jay Dion

Litigation Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA

If the witnesses are reliable and trustworthy, to your knowledge and you have not coerced them, scripted them nor paid them anything, they should have no problem talking to the other side's lawyer and the lawyer has the right to contact them to find out what they know and will say on your behalf. They have the choice to talk to your opponent or not. For either side to record sworn testimony prior to trial the witnesses should be subpoenaed and deposed. For unsworn testimony a recorded statement or sign written statement can be given but only if the witness consents. In other words, if your witnesses don't want to talk to your opponent, they don't have to unless subpoenaed. I'm confident this is the procedure in Florida as well as my state. If you want everything to be done correctly, it is always best not to represent yourself, even if you were a lawyer. You know the saying: A lawyer representing himself has a fool for a client.

This answer is not intended to be legal advice in a lawyer/client relationship. Misunderstanding of the answer or... more

Related Advice

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.