Webinars by Practice Area
A fundamental guide to witness statements
Recorded on: 07/02/2023
Witness statements are causing more and more problems for lawyers – and potentially very costly ones at that.
At the end of 2022 alone, two claims collapsed at the start of trial because of elementary failures to comply with the rules. The 2021 reforms in the Business & Property Courts (PD 57AC) are the most taxing ever and last year we saw a defendant that raised an improper challenge to the content of statements ending up with a costs liability of £275,000. In another case, a claimant who seriously breached the rules was ordered to pay indemnity costs, having exacerbated the situation by dismissing the defendant’s concerns.
Then there was the senior City lawyer and his only witness who were castigated for the “clearest case of failure to comply” with the practice direction that the judge had seen. And, just before Christmas, a judge issued a stark warning to solicitors who sign a certificate of compliance on non-compliant witness statements so their clients can have their day in court.
At the same time, the High Court has also warned that applications for the imposition of sanctions for breaching PD 57AC must not be used as “litigation weapons”.
This all adds up to a real minefield for litigators. In this seminar, Professor Dominic Regan will spell out the key rules as well as delivering practical advice on how not to get into desperate trouble.