objections | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: General Term

Objections in trial law are formal statements made by lawyers to challenge the admissibility of evidence or questions and ensure a fair trial.

In the realm of criminal justice, trials are guided by a set of rules. These rules help ensure that both sides get a fair chance to present their case and that the trial stays focused on the truth. One way that lawyers enforce these rules is through objections.

Purpose of Objections

An objection is a way for a lawyer to challenge something happening in the trial. They might object to a question that’s being asked, to evidence that’s being presented, or to something else that they believe is not following the rules. After all, the aim is to prevent improper evidence from being considered or inappropriate questions from being asked.

How Objections Work

When a lawyer has a concern about something in the trial, they stand up and say, “Objection.” After that, they’ll state the reason for their objection. For example, they might say, “Objection, hearsay,” if they believe a witness is about to share information they heard from someone else, which is usually not allowed.

The judge then decides whether it is valid. If the judge agrees with the objection, they will say “sustained,” and the question or evidence is not allowed. If the judge disagrees, they will say “overruled,” and the trial continues as if it was never made.


There are many different types of objections that a lawyer can make. Here are a few examples:

  • Hearsay: This is when a witness tries to share something they heard from someone else. Usually, this is not allowed because the person who originally said it is not in court to be cross-examined.
  • Relevance: This objection is used when a lawyer believes that the evidence or question doesn’t relate to the case.
  • Leading question: This happens when a lawyer asks a question that suggests the answer within the question itself.
  • Opinion: Witnesses are generally only allowed to share what they saw, heard, or know personally. They are not usually allowed to share their personal opinions or conclusions.

The Importance of Objections

Objections are a critical part of ensuring a fair trial. They allow lawyers to challenge evidence or questions that they believe are improper or irrelevant. Above all, objections help make sure that the trial follows the rules and that the jury only considers appropriate and legal evidence.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, objections in trial law are a vital tool for lawyers. They help maintain the integrity of the trial and ensure that both sides follow the rules. By objecting to improper questions or evidence, lawyers can help keep the focus on the truth and contribute to a fair outcome.

Learn More

On Other Sites

Montz, C. L. (2001). Trial Objections from Beginning to End: The Handbook for Civil and Criminal Trials. Pepp. L. Rev.29, 243.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 07/01/2023

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