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Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Effective Litigation

20. Witness Statements  

This chapter deals with witness statements. The importance of witness evidence is a historic premise of civil litigation and it remains the case, save only that evidence in chief is now provided through a witness statement unless the court orders otherwise. The fact that the majority of cases settle well before trial provides some complexity as regards how the evidence of a potential witness is handled. The first stage will be to take informal statements. The second stage, where appropriate, is that what a potential witness says may be put into the form of a formal witness statement. The chapter discusses formal requirements for witness statements; drafting a witness statement; drafting an affidavit; exchange of witness statements; and reviewing witness statements.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

12. Hearsay in criminal cases  

This chapter discusses the meaning of hearsay in criminal proceedings and the categories of hearsay admissible by statute in such proceedings. It considers the relationship between the hearsay provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) and Art 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights as it relates to hearsay; the definition of hearsay, and its admissibility under the 2003 Act, including admissibility under an inclusionary discretion (s 114(1)(d)); and safeguards including provisions relating to the capability and credibility of absent witnesses, the power to stop a case and the discretion to exclude. Also considered in this chapter are: expert reports; written statements under s 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967; and depositions of children and young persons under s 43 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

7. Examination-in-chief  

The questioning of witnesses, which generally falls into three stages known as examination-in-chief, cross-examination, and re-examination, is central to the English adversary system of justice. This chapter focuses on the first stage, examination-in-chief. In this stage the party calling a witness, or counsel on his behalf, will seek to elicit evidence that supports his version of the facts in issue. The discussions cover young and vulnerable witnesses; the rule against leading questions and the exceptions to the rule; refreshing the memory in court and out of court; the rule against previous consistent or self-serving statements and the common law exceptions to the rule (complaints in sexual cases, statements admissible to rebut allegations of recent fabrication, statements made on accusation, previous identification, statements admissible as part of the res gestae and statements in documents used to refresh the memory and received in evidence); and unfavourable and hostile witnesses.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

8. Cross-examination and re-examination  

This chapter first discusses cross-examination, the questioning of a witness immediately after his examination-in-chief by the legal representative of the opponent of the party calling him, or by the opposing party in person, and by the legal representative of any other party to the proceedings or by any other party in person. The object of cross-examination is to elicit evidence which supports the cross-examining party’s version of the facts in issue and to cast doubt upon the witness’s evidence-in-chief. It then turns to re-examination. A witness who has been cross-examined may be re-examined by the party who called him. The object of re-examination is to repair damage that has been done by cross-examination.

Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

32. Witness Statements, Affidavits, and Depositions  

This chapter discusses the rules relating to the use of written evidence in civil proceedings. Under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR), evidence given in civil trials is given primarily from the witness box, but with witness statements exchanged well before trial standing as the evidence-in-chief of the witnesses. The parties are required to exchange their witnesses’ statements in order to save time and costs at trial, and to enable the parties to evaluate the merits of their dispute with a view to settlement. Written evidence in support of interim applications can be given by a variety of different methods, but the principal means is by way of signed witness statements.

Chapter

Cover Employment Law

31. Preparing and presenting a case  

This chapter provides practical guidance to aid in the preparation and presentation of a case before an employment tribunal. Although it is primarily written from the point of view of the advocate at such a hearing, the material is also relevant to advisors, witnesses and the parties to a case. The text guides the parties to a tribunal case through the whole tribunal procedure from the very beginning. It covers fact management, understanding the law, starting the process—filling in claim and response forms, preparing a schedule of loss, negotiating a settlement, drafting witness statements, disclosure, preparing bundles and advocacy.