Viva Voce Legal Definition:

Latin: by voice.

Related Terms: Witness , Testimony

Out loud; using the spoken word.

Evidence which is given orally to a Court by a witness' word of mouth (as opposed to in writing, such as by affidavit or deposition).

As Justice Laskin wrote in United States District Court, there are two kinds of evidence:

"... viva voce testimony and ... testimony by way of documentary evidence."

In law, evidence and testimony are often used interchangeably as there are two forms of testimony: oral and documentary.

In parliamentary procedure, a viva voce vote also signifies a vote taken by word of mouth as in "all those in favour say 'yea'", as distinguished by a written vote, also known as a ballot.


  • United States District Court, Middle District of Florida v. Royal American Shows Inc. []1982] 1 SCR 414 (Supreme Court of Canada)

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