Q&As

A party seeks to rely on witness evidence given in a witness statement by two persons who are both deceased. These witnesses have died since the statements were served, and the deadline for exchange of witness statements has passed. The other party to proceedings is aware both witnesses are deceased and has not objected to the use of the statements. Is a hearsay notice still needed (either formal or informal)?

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Published on LexisPSL on 25/07/2019

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A party seeks to rely on witness evidence given in a witness statement by two persons who are both deceased. These witnesses have died since the statements were served, and the deadline for exchange of witness statements has passed. The other party to proceedings is aware both witnesses are deceased and has not objected to the use of the statements. Is a hearsay notice still needed (either formal or informal)?
  • Hearsay evidence
  • Using hearsay evidence

Hearsay evidence

Hearsay is ‘a statement made otherwise than by a person while giving oral evidence in proceedings which is tendered as evidence of the matters stated’ (section 1(2) of the Civil Evidence Act 1995 (CEA 1995) and CPR 33.1). Therefore, evidence given by way of a witness statement rather than as evidence given orally at trial (thereby depriving the other parties of cross-examining them on their evidence) will constitute hearsay evidence. The rules on hearsay only apply to the giving of evidence at trial and not for an application.

Where witnesses are deceased, a party may choose to rely on the witnesses’ evidence as hearsay evidence at trial. The weight that is given to hearsay evidence will be decided by the court depending on the circumstances of the case.

For general guidance, see Practice Note: Hearsay evidence in civil litigation.

Using hearsay evidence

CEA 1995, s 2(1) provides that a party wishing to rely on hea

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