Witness Familiarisation

Unlock Witness Potential

Our flagship training product, our Witness Familiarisation session is designed to give witnesses a thorough understanding of the procedures involved in giving evidence, their role in the adversarial system, and the preparation required to provide a coherent account at the hearing.

We will discuss and demystify the techniques lawyers use in cross-examination to disconcert and discredit witnesses. We will provide techniques designed to assist in delivering clear, honest and effective evidence. Participants are then cross-examined on a case study or topic unrelated to the facts and issues of the case at hand, with detailed feedback on their performance provided to them and any instructing parties.

Key Learning Points

  • Understand the practice, procedures and etiquette of giving factual or expert evidence
  • How the adversarial process works, and the role of the witness in it
  • The layout and roles of various participants at the hearing
  • Identify problems that can arise in cross-examination and learn how to handle them
  • Deal with techniques lawyers use in cross-examination
  • Give coherent, sequential testimony under difficult cross-examination

Course Details

  • Number of witnesses: 1 – 6
  • Duration: 3 hours up to a full day (depending on the number of participants)
  • Method of delivery: In person or remote. We deliver in person training globally
  • Suitable for: Fact or expert witnesses (though not in the same session)


If you require any interpretation assistance, whether for the purposes of the training or the hearing itself, this can be arranged. Bond Solon have links with some of the top interpreters, based worldwide.

Please contact us by filling the form below, call 020 7549 2549 or email info@bondsolon.com for more information or to book a session.

Types of Legal Hearings

We regularly deliver Witness Familiarisation training for factual witnesses and experts, who are required to give evidence across a wide variety of legal hearings, interviews or meetings, including but not limited to:

  • High Court
  • Arbitration (ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, DIAC, SIAC, HKIAC, LMAA and more, including ad hoc)
  • Criminal Court


  • Tribunal hearings (including Employment Tribunal, First Tier Tribunals and more)
  • Public Inquiries
  • Coroner’s Courts
  • Professional Conduct Hearings
  • We also regularly run sessions all over the world, for cases heard under foreign law and can tailor our sessions accordingly

Frequently asked Questions

What is witness familiarisation?

Witness familiarisation is a process which provides witnesses with a comprehensive understanding of the theory, practice and procedure of giving evidence and what is expected of them when they are required to give evidence. 

This includes familiarising the witness with the layout of the legal forum, the likely sequence of events when the witness will be giving evidence and a balanced appraisal of the different responsibilities of the various people at the hearing. 

We will also give witnesses an insight into the techniques cross-examining lawyers will use in cross-examination, ensuring they are not disadvantaged through a lack of knowledge.

What is the difference between witness familiarisation and coaching?

Coaching has always been prohibited. Lawyers are not allowed to prepare witnesses on what they should say, or attempt to persuade the witness into changing their evidence.

In contrast, witness familiarisation is encouraged by both the Bar Council and the Court of Appeal. Witnesses should not be disadvantaged by ignorance of the process or taken by surprise at the way in which the hearing works. There is a duty of care to witnesses, and to ensure they are put at ease as much as possible before their hearing.

Why use Bond Solon?

Bond Solon is the leading provider of witness familiarisation in the UK. We regularly provide this service to the majority of the top 100 leading law firms across the UK, as well as directly to a large number of companies.

  1. Experienced. Bond Solon has unparalleled experience and understanding of the different needs of witnesses. Over 250,000 witnesses have attended our sessions.
  2. Impartial. There can be no allegations of coaching because Bond Solon are wholly independent and our trainers have no personal knowledge of the facts and issues of the case.
  3. Highly skilled. Bond Solon trainers are experienced barristers and solicitors. As professional trainers, they have extensive experience in delivering witness familiarisation sessions for Witnesses of Fact and Expert Witnesses in a variety of legal forums.

Why shouldn’t solicitors or counsel run the witness familiarisation sessions themselves?

The Court of Appeal in R v Momodou [2005] EWCA Crim 177 (par 64) clearly states that in criminal proceedings, none of those conducting the witness familiarisation session should have any personal knowledge of the matters in issue in the case.

This has been adopted by the Bar Council in their Guidance, which also states for civil proceedings that until there is further authority, it is prudent to follow the same principles as set out in Momodou.

Can witness familiarisation include mock cross-examination?

Yes, as long as the material used does not bear similarity to the issues and content in the forthcoming proceedings, and those conducting the session have no personal knowledge of the case.

After the session what feedback will I receive?

Oral feedback is given to each witness following the mock cross-examination to help them understand what the hearing requires. We also complete a written assessment form which will also be shared. We will provide comprehensive written and verbal feedback to instructing parties.

As part of the product offering, we will also arrange a pre-course briefing in order to help us tailor the training accordingly.

Can Bond Solon provide witness familiarisation sessions to overseas witnesses?

Yes. Bond Solon provides witness familiarisation sessions for witnesses based all over the world. Many of these witnesses come from countries with an inquisitorial legal system and have little or no knowledge of the adversarial UK legal system.

We regularly travel to deliver training. Please enquire as to further details on this. Sessions can also be delivered online.

We are also extremely experienced in terms of delivering training for those where English is not their first language. We regularly run sessions with the assistance of interpreters, and can arrange them for the purposes of the training (or indeed the hearing) if required. Find out more about our interpretation services.

How long before the hearing should a witness familiarisation session be scheduled?

Whilst sessions early in the process are useful in getting witnesses to think about their role in proceedings, we suggest the familiarisation sessions take place 3-4 weeks prior to the hearing. This is to enable witnesses to concentrate on the content of the session and to allow them time to undertake the necessary preparation prior to them being required to give their evidence. This is, however, just guidance - we are able to arrange sessions at very short notice if necessary.

How long does a Bond Solon witness familiarisation session last?

The length of the training depends on the number of witnesses. Usually allow three hours for 1 witness and up to a full day for 4-6 witnesses. After the initial session, some witnesses may require a follow-up cross-examination session.

Where does the training take place?

We can run witness familiarisation sessions for witnesses from all over the world (and across different time zones), giving evidence in virtual, hybrid or face to face settings.

More often than not we run training at the offices of the clients we work with. We are then on hand to provide detailed feedback following the training. We also have a central London office location and can host sessions at our offices, and are able to run training online across various platforms.

When booking a Witness Familiarisation service, what are the terms and conditions?

You can find the terms and conditions for our Witness Familiarisation services here.


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