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Can a lawyer call the defense lawyer a liar?  

March 14, 2015 Personal Injury FAQs

During closing arguments, can a lawyer turn around in front of the jury, and call the opposing lawyer, a liar?

A Lawyer cannot Call the Opposing Lawyer a Liar

Trial in Progress

Opposing counsels are refrained from getting personal and dishing out personal insults. 

The plaintiff’s lawyer says its black, the defense will say white, one side says yes and the opposing side says no. For, everything claimed by the plaintiff, the defense would say just the opposite. Is the defense lying or being untruthful? Is the defense lawyer shading the truth?

When the plaintiff’s lawyer obtains the opportunity to address the jury with his closing remarks at the end of the trial, can he tell the jurors that the defense attorney is a liar. The answer is no. A lawyer cannot call the other lawyer a liar in his closing remarks.

Point Out the Inconsistencies and Untruths

However, there may be instances where the people who are being sued have said things that are contradictory compared to what they have stated earlier, or said untruthful things. The defense may also have tried to hide the truth. The plaintiff’s lawyer can show all such contradictions to the jury. He can show all this without actually coming out and saying that the defense was lying. The plaintiff’s lawyer can reveal all the inconsistencies of the defense to the jury, but he cannot call the defense lawyer a liar or say that he has been lying throughout the case.

The jurors are smart enough to recognize if there are inconsistencies. If there were untruths, the lawyer would have brought that out during the course of the trial. The lawyer will have the opportunity in his closing remarks, to explain to the jury how the defense has shaded the truth, by showing all the inconsistencies in their statements.

Too Bold; Going too Far

The lawyer can even tell the jury that they cannot possibly believe the defense; however, he cannot declare outright that the defense lawyer is a liar or that he has been lying to the jury throughout the case. The jury is smart, they would have observed the inconsistencies, and will actually know that the defense is lying, and there is no necessity for lawyer to say this. The lawyers should allow the jury to come to that conclusion on their own.

The lawyer simply has to highlight the many inconsistencies in not only what the defense is saying but also about the things that their attorney has stated. The goal of the plaintiff’s lawyer should not be to focus on the defense’s lawyer or his antics during the course of the trial, but rather to show the jury that there have been inconsistencies, there have been untruths, and there have been shading of the truths.

Therefore, because of all this, the lawyer can tell the jury that they cannot possibly believe the defense’s witnesses. The lawyer can also tell the jury about his witnesses, the statements they have made are consistent, and that they have credibility. This will show the clear differences between the witnesses of both sides.