Important Changes to the Format of Civil Witness Statements

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06 April, 2020

From today, 6 April 2020, the way we have always written our witness statements has changed. The most important change is to the statement of truth at the bottom of witness statements or any other document where a statement of truth is required.

The new wording is as follows and must appear on all your witness statements and that of your witnesses from today:

'I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement 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 belief in its truth'.

In light of these changes it is more important than ever that anyone signing a witness statement has fully read and understood every aspect of the document and they are completely happy with the contents, otherwise they could now be held in contempt of court. If you or your witnesses don't understand the statement or you are not happy with it, it is vital that you amend the witness statement so that you do understand it or ask us to make the necessary amendments.

The following further information must also be contained within any witness statements prepared:

  • The heading to the witness statement must contain the date of translation, where relevant;
  • The body of the witness statement must, where practicable, be drafted in the individual's own words but must also be drafted in their own language; and
  • The body of the witness statement must also state the process by which it has been prepared, for example, face-to-face, over the telephone and/or through an interpreter.

Where we need to rely on a witness statement in a foreign language we are required to have it translated into English and we must file both the foreign language statement, including a statement of truth in their own language, and the translated statement with the court and ask the translator to sign the original statement and certify that the translation is accurate.

We can continue to prepare, check and amend witness statements for you and are happy to help with any queries you may have in relation these changes.

For more information contact Sarah Rogers in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01772 220161. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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