Lost in Translation

Article

07 October, 2015

Coventry County Court - 25/09/2015

A judge dismissed an employers' liability claim after the Claimant had failed to include a translation clause in her witness statement.

The claimant brought a claim against her employer, after she allegedly sustained a personal injury when the claimant's LLOP (Low Lift Order Picker) was involved in a very minor collision with another LLOP. The Defendant denied liability.

The Polish speaking Claimant had filed a witness statement in English, and prior to the trial her representatives had duly arranged for a translator to attend Court. However, the Claimant had failed to include a translation clause in either her witness statement or in her Particulars of Claim, both of which she had endorsed with a statement of truth.

As a result, the Defendant swiftly made an application to strike out the claim on the basis that the Claimant did not have any witness evidence to rely on since the statement of truth in her statement was meaningless.

The Claimant attempted to satisfy the Court by offering to translate the statement from English to Polish prior to the trial commencing but this was rejected. The Claimant then sought an adjournment and relief from sanctions in order to submit a 'proper' statement, the judge refused the application and dismissed the claim on the basis that there was no statement from the Claimant which the Court could rely upon.

Forbes Comment

A witness statement must be in a person's own words, it is not acceptable for a statement to be drafted in English and subsequently translated. This case demonstrates that the Court will not take a lenient approach when a witness statement from non-English speaking Claimant fails to comply with the CPR.

For further information, please contact Warren Smethurst on 0161 918 0000.

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