The Weekly Roundup: The Jubilee Edition

Published date07 June 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation
Law Firm1 Chancery Lane
AuthorRobert Parkin

Is the four day weekend the future? If you'd asked us that on Wednesday we'd almost certainly have said yes, but this morning we wonder whether we're more exhausted and emotionally drained than we were before we started. To ease us back into the week, the team is holding a Poetry Contest - a small prize for the winning entrant, which will be announced next week. To start you off, our friend David Boyle of Deans Court Chambers has submitted the following Jubilee Limerick:

As all those supporting our nation

Come together in mass celebration,

Should we open a magnum

To mark going platinum?

Of course: There should be jubilation!

Some might hypothesise that if we'd opened fewer magnums in the first place we'd be in better spirits now, but we couldn't possibly comment.

Witness Statements: Is It Really Necessary To Follow The Rules?

The Business and Property Courts have provided a timely reminder of the need for witness statements to comply with the requirements of the CPR in Primavera Associates Limited v Hertsmere Borough Council [2022] EWHC 1240 (Ch).

A property developer litigant, and no doubt their solicitors, faced the (expensive) embarrassment of seeing parts of its main trial witness statement being struck out as non-compliant on the second attempt to draft such a statement properly.

It has been the author's experience that witness statements are sometimes treated as something of a free-for-all with relatively few procedural rules governing the contents. This is not the correct approach. The requirements are described in Primavera as follows:

[9] The CPR (like the RSC before them) have always contained rules controlling the form in which written evidence is given to the court: see CPR Part 32, and especially rules 32.1, 32.4 and 32.8. In JD Wetherspoon Plc v Harris [2013] EWHC 1088 (Ch), Sir Terence Etherton C set out the general principles applicable to factual witness statements at [38]-[41]. In Mansion Place Ltd v Fox Industrial Services Ltd [2021] EWHC 2747 (TCC), [25], O'Farrell J summarised these as follows:

"i) they should contain evidence that the maker would be allowed to give orally as provided in CPR 32.4;

ii) they should cover those issues, but only those issues, on which the party serving the witness statement wished the witness to give evidence in-chief;

iii) they should not provide a commentary on the documents in the trial bundle, nor set out quotations from such documents, nor engage in matters of argument;

iv) they should not deal with...

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