Testimonial Immunity Law and Legal Definition

Testimonial immunity refers to immunity from the use of forced testimony in a future prosecution against the witness. Testimonial immunity is considered to be an absolute immunity. The purpose of affording testimonial immunity to witnesses who appear before a legislative proceeding is to permit the witnesses to give their legislators fully candid testimony regarding the advisability of proposed legislation. The immunity permits them to do so without the inhibiting or chilling effect that the threat of being hauled into civil court on a defamation suit would pose. The value of the privilege to the American representative form of government is obvious, necessary, and substantial.

Testimonial immunity leaves witness and prosecutorial authorities substantially in the same position as if the witness had claimed the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The immunity is therefore coextensive with the privilege and suffices to supplant it. [In the Interest of S.U., 269 Ga. App. 306 (Ga. Ct. App. 2004)].