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Witness Statements

Other matters concerned with witness statements in relation to the Technology and Construction Court

Foreign language

If a witness is not sufficiently fluent in English to give his evidence in English, the witness statement should be in his or her own language and an authenticated translation provided. Where the witness has a broken command of English, the statement may be drafted by others so as to express the witness’s evidence as accurately as possible. In that situation, however, the witness statement should indicate that this process of interpolation has occurred and also should explain the extent of the witness’s command of English and how and to what parts of the witness statement the process of interpolation has occurred.

Reluctant witness

Sometimes a witness is unwilling or not permitted or is unavailable to provide a witness statement before the trial. The party seeking to adduce this evidence should comply with the provisions of Civil Procedure Rules 32.9 concerned with the provision of witness summaries.

Hearsay

Parties should keep in mind the need to give appropriate notice of their intention to rely on hearsay evidence or the contents of documents without serving a witness statement from their maker or from the originator of the evidence contained in those documents. The appropriate procedure is contained in Civil Procedure Rules 33.1 – 33.5.

Supplementary Witness Statements

The general principle is that a witness should set out in their witness statement their complete evidence relevant to the issues in the case. The witness statement should not include evidence on the basis that it might be needed depending on what the other party’s witnesses might say. The correct procedure in such cases is for the witness to provide a supplementary witness statement or, as necessary, for a new witness to provide a witness statement limited to responding to particular matters contained in the other party’s witness statement and to seek permission accordingly. In some cases it might be appropriate for the Technology and Construction Court to provide for the service of supplementary witness statements as part of the order at the first case management conference.

Supplementary Evidence in Chief

The relevant witness evidence should be contained in the witness statements, or if appropriate witness summaries, served in advance of the hearing. Where, for whatever reason, this has not happened and the witness has relevant important evidence to give, particularly where the need for such evidence has only become apparent during the trial, the judge has a discretion to permit supplementary evidence in chief.

Witness statements in relation to the Technology and Construction Court

Witness statements should be prepared generally in accordance with Civil Procedure Rules Part 22.1 (documents verified by a statement of truth) and Civil Procedure Rules Part 32 (provisions governing the evidence of witnesses) and their practice directions, particularly paragraphs 17 to 22 of the Practice Direction supplementing Civil Procedure Rules Part 32. Unless otherwise directed by the court, witness statements should not have annexed to them copies of other documents and should not reproduce or paraphrase at length passages from other documents. The only exception arises where a specific document needs to be annexed to the statement in order to make that statement reasonably intelligible. When preparing witness statements, attention should be paid to the following matters: • Even when prepared by a legal representative or other professional, the witness statement should be, so far as practicable, in the witness’s own words. • The witness statement should indicate which matters are within the witness’s own knowledge and which are matters of information and belief. Where the witness is stating matters of hearsay or of either information or belief, the source of that evidence should also be stated. • A witness statement should be no longer than necessary and should not be argumentative. • A witness statement should not contain extensive reference to contemporaneous documents by way of narrative. • The witness statement must include a statement by the witness that he believes the facts stated to be true. Costs. If at any stage the judge considers that the way in which witness statements have been prepared, particularly by the inclusion of extensive irrelevant or peripheral material, is likely to lead or has led to inefficiency in the conduct of the proceedings or to unnecessary time or costs being spent, the judge may order that the witness should resubmit the witness statement in whole or part and may make a costs order disallowing costs or ordering costs to be paid, either on the basis of a summary assessment or by giving a direction to the costs judge as to what costs should be disallowed or paid on a detailed assessment: see paragraph 5.5.5 above.

Witness statements and factual evidence for use at trial

Contents in relation to the Technology and Construction Court

The topics include the following: Witness statements, Other matters concerned with witness statements, Cross-referencing and Video link.



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Finlay Harris, 'Witness Statements' (lawi.org.uk 2020) <https://lawi.org.uk/witness-statements/> accesed 2021 October 16

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  • Article Name: Witness Statements
  • Author: Finlay Harris
  • Description: Other matters concerned with witness statements in relation to the Technology and Construction Court [rtbs [...]

This entry was last updated: February 21, 2020

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