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DRAFTING WITNESS STATEMENTS: GUIDANCE FROM THE BAR COUNCIL THAT EVERY LITIGATOR SHOULD READ

Originally posted on Civil Litigation Brief:

 The Bar Council has very useful guidance drafting witness statements in civil proceedings*. This deals with  the practicalities of drafting statements and ethical issues that arise in the material that can properly be included (and omitted) from statement. It is, as ever, essential reading for all those who draft witness statements.

BAR COUNCIL GUIDANCE ON ETHICS

The Guide states the issue succinctly:

  1. The cardinal principle in drafting a witness statement is that the witness will swear or affirm that the evidence is true. It is therefore crucial that the statement accurately reflects the witness’s evidence.
  2. The cardinal job of the person drafting the statement is to ensure that understand the relevant evidence and express that evidence in the witness’s own words.
  3. It is important that it is made clear to the witness that the statement, once approved, is the witness’s statement.
  4. Ultimately it is the witness’s own responsibility to ensure the…

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