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What Is a Rebuttal?

When an individual presents an argument or a claim against another, the other may provide an answer or response to the arguments or claims made against him or her. This is called a rebuttal. It is also possible that a rebuttal is in the form of evidence that is meant to contradict or invalidate evidence that was previously presented. A rebuttal is synonymous to a counter-claim and generally serves that purpose.

The purpose of a rebuttal is to refute or respond to any statement made against one’s self. This rebuttal is usually in the form of an argument or speech that provides information negating or invalidating any claims made against one’s self. In the process of a court hearing or within the confines of a legal system, rebuttals must adhere to the rules or guidelines provided. This means that rebuttals in the form of evidence or witnesses must be limited to the evidence or witness to be rebutted. A rebuttal cannot go any farther than the issues or points already presented. Thus, no new evidence or witnesses can be introduced or admitted during a rebuttal. However, there is an exception to this rule. In the event that a litigant brings forward evidence or witnesses that were not submitted beforehand to the court or unexpectedly presented, then the opposing litigant may present new evidence or witnesses to rebut whatever it is that the former presented.

In debate, a rebuttal is also found at the end of a debate round. Each side is given an opportunity to refute any of the arguments made by the opposing side. The debater who speaks last is often referred to as the rebuttal speaker.

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