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CPR amendments effective April 2020

There are some very important amendments being made to the CPR Practice Directions

There are some very important amendments being made to the CPR Practice Directions regarding the wording of a statement of truth (CPR Practice Direction 22) and foreign language witness statements (CPR Practice Direction 32) coming into effect from 6 April 2020. The changes are considered below.

Changes to the wording of a statement of truth

The changes have been implemented to highlight the risk of proceedings for contempt of court being commenced where a person or party signs a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

The amendments will apply to all documents that are verified by a statement of truth, whether they be on a witness statement or statements of case (particulars of claim/defence etc.).

Amended wording of a statement of truth (CPR Practice Direction 22)

The new wording required in relation to statements of truth is set out below (amended sections only; new additions/amendments in bold):

2.1 The form of the statement of truth verifying a statement of case, a response, an application notice or a notice of objections should be as follows: “I believe the (claimant or as may be) believes that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

 2.2 The form of the statement of truth verifying a witness statement should be as follows: “I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

2.4 The statement of truth must be in the witness’s own language.

2.5 A statement of truth must be dated with the date on which it was signed.

Changes to the requirements for foreign language witness statements

Changes are also being made to the requirements for witness statements from a witness who speaks a foreign language. The main changes are summarised below:

  • The witness statement and statement of truth must be drafted in the witness’s own language (CPR PD 32 18.1, 19.1(8) and CPR PD 22 2.4).
  • The witness statement must provide details of the process by which it has been prepared, this includes the use of an interpreter (CPR PD 32 18.2(5)).
  • The party wishing to rely upon a foreign language witness statement must file the foreign language witness statement with the court, have it translated and the translator must sign the original statement confirming that the translation is accurate (CPR PD 32 23.2).
  • The witness statement should also include the date of translation in the top right hand corner (CPR PD 32 17.6).

How will the changes affect you?

The changes will affect you if you are required to provide witness statements or statements of case and/or sign statements of truth. If you fail to use the updated wording of the statement of truth after 6 April 2020, the statement of case or witness statement will not be CPR compliant.

If you obtain a witness statement from a witness who speaks a foreign language, you should also ensure that you comply with all requirements relating to foreign language witness evidence to ensure that the evidence is CPR compliant.

Although the changes do not come into effect until 6 April 2020, we recommend beginning to implement the amended rules at this stage to ensure compliance.

For more information see the list of CPR Practice Directions amendments coming into force 31 March 2020 / 6 April 2020.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please contact Sian Evans, Partner on 0151 242 6821 or email sian.evans@weightmans.com.

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