Related Sector: Expert Witness, Witness Familiarisation

The mandatory wording of the Statement of Truth in expert witnesses’ reports in the civil courts changes from tomorrow - 1st October 2020

This is the 122nd Update to the Civil Procedure Rules and makes the new wording a mandatory requirement for all Civil Expert Witness Reports in England and Wales from tomorrow 1st October 2020.

What to do now?

  • Download the full new Statement of Truth here
  • Update your Civil Expert Witness Report Template
  • Ensure that any expert reports which you sign from 1st October 2020 include the new wording.

Background to this Update

The new wording reflects the emphasis placed by the Courts on the seriousness with which they will view any false statements contained in a written report. This follows the case of Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co.Ltd v Zafar [2019]EWCA Civ 392, in which the Court of Appeal set out guidance for judges in how to deal with contempt of court actions against expert witnesses.

Dr. Zafar had included information in his report at the request of his instructing solicitors; the information directly contradicted his actual findings on examination of the claimant and contained an opinion on prognosis, suggested by the solicitor, which was not his own.

The court found that he had, at the very least, been reckless about the truthfulness of the information, if not dishonest, in including it in his report. As such, he was “in contempt of court” and liable for punishment by the court, either by way of a fine or by way of imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal ruled that any expert witness who is found to be either dishonest or reckless as to the truthfulness of their reports should be sentenced to immediate imprisonment for 1 year.

This development is all in line with the process of professionalisation of the expert witness industry and the trust and reliance that the courts place on the experts who write reports.

Are you up to date with your Expert Witness Training?

If you have any questions in relation to this change, please do contact us.

This article was first published on 30th September 2020.


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