Dispute Resolution Update: Changes to Statements of Truth and Witness Statements
When involved in civil claims, all parties must adhere to a set of rules known as The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), a code with the overriding aim to enable the courts in England and Wales to deal with cases justly.
Such rules are often amended. Sam Dale, litigation specialist and Partner at Butcher & Barlow’s Sandbach office, considers the impact of the 113th and 114th amendments to the CPR and the changes that will be introduced from 6th April 2020.
Statements of Truth
A Statement of Truth is a declaration in a document which confirms that the facts stated within it are true.
With effect from 6th April 2020 all statements of truth in statements of case (e.g. Particulars of Claim or a Defence) and court applications must state the following:
“[I believe] [The party] believes that the facts stated in this [name of document] are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest believe in its trust.”
Similarly, the statement of truth in Witness Statements must state:
“I believe that the facts stated in this statement are trust. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth”.
It should be noted that these amendments do not impose any new “punishment” but rather make it clear to those signing such documents that proceedings for contempt of court could be brought against them if they were to provide any false statements.
Language of Witness Statements
The amendments also state that the aforementioned statement of truth must be in the witness’ own language. When the statement is translated, the date of any such translation should be specified.
Both the statement in the original language and the translated version need to be filed with the Court.
Process of Preparing Witness Statements
Witness statements should also, if practicable, be drafted in the individual’s own words.
The body of the statement must also confirm “the process by which it has been prepared, for example, face-to-face, over the telephone and/or through an interpreter”.
Breaching the CPR can result in significant criticism from the Court and adverse costs consequences. Additionally, if a Witness Statement does not adhere to both existing and the new requirements under the CPR, there is a risk that you will not be able to rely on your statement at any subsequent hearing.
Butcher & Barlow have an expert team of litigators who can guide you through all the necessary steps when issuing or defending court proceedings. We can also assist or provide clarification on documents that you have been requested to sign if you are issuing the claim yourself, or if you have been issued documents by the Court.
In line with Government guidelines, we are now working remotely. Sam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07760 663655.
To view Butcher & Barlow’s own working practices, please visit www.butcher-barlow.co.uk/news.