Witness evidence—service
Witness evidence—service

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Witness evidence—service
  • Serving witness statements
  • Difficulties meeting the deadline for service of factual witness evidence
  • Failure to serve in time—Rule 32.10
  • Interaction between Rule 32.10 and Rule 3.9(1)
  • Failure to serve in time—costs impact
  • Serving factual witness statements—practical tips

Serving witness statements

If you wish to rely on witness evidence, it must be set out in a witness statement, which must be served within the time specified by the court (CPR 32.10—see: below).

A witness statement is a person’s signed, written statement setting out the evidence that they would be permitted to be allowed to give orally (CPR 32.4(1)). For more information on the substantive and technical content of witness statements, see Practice Notes: Witness statements—substantive content and Drafting witness statements—technical requirements.

Under CPR 32.4(2), the parties will be ordered by the court to serve on the other parties any witness statements setting out the oral evidence which the serving party intends to rely on in respect of any issues of facts to be decided at trial. The court may give directions under CPR 32.4(3), as to:

  1. the order in which witness statements are to be served, and

  2. whether or not the witness statements are to be filed'

Directions about serving and filing factual witness evidence will usually be given by the court at the case management conference (CMC). However, the court could do so at any hearing during which directions are considered.

Generally witness statements will be exchanged simultaneously.

In certain, albeit rare, cases the court may give directions for statements to be served sequentially, eg where there is a limited issue