in chief


Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to in chief: Chief Secretary, Chief architect
See: a fortiori

IN CHIEF. Evidence is said to be in chief when it is given in support of the case opened by the leading counsel. Vide To Open, Opening. The term is used to distinguish evidence of this nature from evidence obtained on a cross- examination. (q.v.) 3 Chit. 890. By evidence in chief is sometimes meant that evidence, which is given in contradistinction to evidence which is obtained on the witness voir dire.
     2. Evidence in chief should be confined to such matters as the pleadings and the opening warrant, and a departure from this rule, will be sometimes highly inconvenient, if not fatal. Suppose, for example, that two assaults have been committed, one in January and the other. in February, and the plaintiff prove his cause of action to have been the assault in January, he cannot abandon that, and afterwards prove another committed in February unless the pleadings and openings extend to both. 1 Campb R. 473. See also, 6 Carr. & P. 73; S. C. 25 E. C. L. R. 288; 1 Mood. & R. 282.