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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 A Practical Approach to Effective Litigation

21. The Potential Roles of Experts  

In conducting civil litigation, expert evidence may be required to assist the lawyer in understanding the circumstances of the case, identifying a potential cause of action, evaluating the case and the potential remedies, understanding expert evidence provided for another party, and identifying weaknesses in their case. This chapter first considers the roles of experts in civil litigation. Experts can be involved in capacities such as conducting early neutral evaluation, decision-making, negotiation or mediation, as a witness in court, or as an assessor. When searching for an appropriate expert, lawyers can turn to relevant professional associations for guidance; and some professions also provide support to members who work as professional experts. The remainder of the chapter discusses the procedure for admitting expert evidence in litigation; the requirements for an expert report; and the contents and review of expert reports.

Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

39. Trial  

This chapter discusses the issues that need to be addressed in the period leading up to a trial. These include contacting witnesses to ensure their availability; obtaining witness summonses where appropriate; briefing trial counsel; agreeing and compiling trial bundles; and counsel preparing speeches, examination-in-chief, and cross-examination of witnesses.

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.