Credibility and Demeanor in the Courtroom: Witnesses & Nonverbal Communication
According to the Supreme Court of Canada, credibility is a prevalent issue in most trials. While a witnesses’ credibility can be influenced by a variety of factors, including their testimony’s consistency with other evidence, witnesses’ nonverbal communication can also play a crucial role. Facial expressions and gestures, as well as other nonverbal characteristics, can influence the weight a trier of fact gives to testimony, and ultimately, can determine the outcome of the trial. Understanding how nonverbal communication can influence a trier of fact’s credibility assessment is therefore a valuable asset to trial lawyers.
Using Canadian case law examples, as well as up to date research on credibility assessment and deception detection, this seminar aims to help lawyers understand the dynamic of nonverbal communication in the courtroom, and how a witnesses’ nonverbal communication can lead triers of fact to conclude that a witness is truthful or dishonest. Understanding how courts interpret demeanor to make credibility assessments will better equip lawyers in a variety of litigation contexts.