The difference between a witness and an eyewitness.

Witnesses and eyewitnesses are people who have information about an event. They themselves did not take part in it, but some information about what happened is available to them. What is the difference between a witness and an eyewitness? Let's try to answer this question.


A witness is a person who is able to inform the court about the significant facts and circumstances of the case under consideration.

An eyewitness is one who directly observed any phenomenon, incident.


Sometimes both words appear in the same meaning “observer”. But in some cases, you can notice the difference between a witness and an eyewitness. It is implied mainly from the point of view of legal proceedings.

If we consider concepts from this angle, then an eyewitness is a kind of unofficial status. We are talking here about a person who could contemplate any events or phenomena, and it is not at all necessary that what happened was then considered in court. For example, you can witness a powerful lightning discharge.

The role of the witness is much more tangible. It is officially confirmed and imposes a certain responsibility on the person. The specified legal status appears as a result of the initiation of an administrative, criminal or other case, after the issuance of an appropriate resolution.

Such a person could initially have been a mere eyewitness. At the same time, a witness is not only one who directly visually observed something. Perhaps he is just aware of the state of affairs or is able to tell how events unfolded in time. The hours of attendance at the hearing are indicated in the notice received by the witness. If a citizen is seriously ill or is too old, representatives of the legislature can themselves visit him to take evidence.

A witness, being a participant in a trial, has specific rights. For example, this person may not provide information against him. The witness also has the right to enter testimony in official documents with his own hand. A person in this status is also endowed with responsibilities. The information provided by him must be truthful, and the disclosure of some data by the specified person is unacceptable if it was ordered by the court. Failure to comply with these and other rules is punishable.

What is the difference between a witness and an eyewitness? The fact that absolutely any person can be in the role of the latter. Meanwhile, there are some restrictions regarding the witness. For example, judges, lawyers, clergymen (the accused may confess to them) and other persons are not subject to questioning. Testimonies from people with mental disabilities are also not accepted.