opening statement

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opening statement (plural opening statements)

  1. (law) In adversarial legal systems, a statement made by a party at the beginning of a trial or comparable factfinding proceeding, in which that party lays out their case, generally including the points of fact that they intend to demonstrate and to some degree indicating the rhetorical arguments for why they should prevail.

Usage notes[edit]

The first argument in a legal trial has traditionally been called an opening argument; however, the more recent trend has been to call this an opening statement, on the theory that parties should avoid making legal arguments before the facts have been established.