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Tuesday Word: colloquy

A colloquy is a conversation/dialogue, either spoken or written. As a legal term, it may refer specifically to formal exchanges between a judge and witness, such as those intended to verify that a defendant who chooses to plead guilty does so willingly and with a full understanding of the charges against them and the penalties they are facing, or any conversation relevant to the case that is not between (or solely between) the witness and the examining attorney, i.e. part of the witness's testimony. It does not apply to the sort of informal conversations that may occur during breaks in a deposition; these are generally regarded as being off the record, whether or not this is explicitly stated, and are omitted from the transcript.

Here is an example of colloquy, from an example transcript:

Q. Will you state your full name for the record, please, sir?
A. My name is --
BBBBBBBBMS. SMITH: Objection. The witness’ full name is irrelevant. You may address him as Mr. Jones.
BBBBBBBBMR. TODD: So I can’t ask him his full name?
BBBBBBBBMS. SMITH: That’s correct.
BBBBBBBBTHE WITNESS: That's right.

During testimony, "Q" is the examining attorney and "A" is the witness, but in colloquy, the witness is referred to simply as "THE WITNESS," with other participants in the conversation being referred to as MR. or MS. followed by their last name.

Colloquy comes from colloquium, from col-, meaning "together," and -loquium, meaning "speaking", from loqui ("to speak").
Tags: c, latin, noun, wordsmith: ellesieg
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