From 6th April Trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts are subject to drastic reforms . Radical features include
1. A duty to explain to a witness at the outset the proper purpose and content of a witness statement;
2. Directions as to how the interview should be conducted;
3. Provisions as to what questions can be put and how they are to be worded;
4. A duty for solicitors to preserve a dated record of the interview (SBP 3.11(3) ).
5. An obligation for each witness to sign off a declaration about compliance.
6. An obligation for the relevant legal representative to certify that they have explained the Rules to the witness and to confirm that the statement adduced was prepared in compliance with the new obligations.
When preparing budgets it is imperative that these onerous obligations are recognised when costing the acquisition and preparation of witness evidence.
This blog was written by Professor Dominic Regan who is working with the Costs and Litigation Funding team as a consultant.