Lawyer-Witness Rule Law and Legal Definition

Lawyer-witness rule refers to a legal principle requiring an attorney to be a fact witness at trial. The rule prohibits an attorney from serving as an advocate and a witness in the same case. However, the lawyer-witness rule makes an exception in some cases where an attorney can serve in the same case where s/he acts as a witness. The lawyer-witness rule makes an exception in cases such as:

1. In a case where testimony is about an uncontested matter;

2. In a case where a disqualification of an attorney would create a substantial hardship for the client;

The lawyer-witness rule states that a lawyer cannot continue employment if the lawyer knows or believes that s/he is or may be a witness necessary to establish an essential fact on behalf of the client. [Juan Carlos Ayus, M.D., P.A. v. Total Renal Care, Inc., 48 F. Supp. 2d 714 (S.D. Tex. 1999)].

The lawyer-witness rule is also known as the advocate-witness rule or attorney-witness rule.