Business and Property Courts impose controls on content of witness statements for use at trial

18 February 2021

The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has approved new Practice Direction PD57AC, which seeks to promote and enforce best practice on the preparation of witness statements.

The PD will apply to witness statements for use at trials in the Business and Property Courts, specifically to claims issued after 6th April 2021 or to existing proceedings where the witness statements for trial are signed on or after 6th April 2021.

Of particular note :

  • Documents referred to are to be listed, not exhibited
  • In addition to signing a statement of truth under CPR Part 22 the witness will also need to sign a confirmation statement that the witness understands the purpose of a witness statement and that it complies with PD57AC; and
  • The relevant party’s legal representative will also be required to certify that PD57AC has been explained to the witness and that the representative is satisfied that the statement is compliant.

The PD does not apply to certain specialist proceedings, e.g. concerning insolvency and under the Companies Acts, and (perhaps most relevantly for many solicitors) to proceedings falling within CPR Part 57, which applies to probate claims, claims for the rectification of wills, claims to substitute or remove a personal representative, and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the Presumption of Death Act 2013 and the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017.

To read the new PD57AC click here.

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