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  Statements of Truth - take your pick!

Experts now have different statements of truth for the Family, Civil and Criminal courts! We offer some quick guidance on what is required where.

Following the recent update to the Civil Procedure Rules, we now find ourselves in the unhappy position of having to use different Statements of Truth in reports directed at the civil, crime and family courts. To help you get the wording correct every time, we list exactly what is required below. You can find links to all the rules at http://www.jspubs.com/Experts/library/lib_eridx.cfm

Civil

Reports written for cases covered by the Civil Procedure Rules

Date introduced: 1 October 2009 (CPR Update 50)
Relevant rules: CPR 35 PD 3.2.9, CPR 35 PD 3.3

All that the CPR require is a statement embodying the declarations in CPR PD 3.2.9 and the mandatory wording of the Statement of Truth in CPR PD 3.3. The following two paragraphs achieve this.

I understand that my overriding duty is to the court and I have complied with that duty. I am aware of the requirements of CPR Part 35, its practice direction and the Protocol for Instruction of Experts to give Evidence in Civil Claims.

I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.

Family

Reports written for cases covered by the Practice Direction for Experts in Family Proceedings Relating to Children

Date introduced: 1 April 2008
Relevant rules: PD 3.11–13

The Family PD requires four declarations (PD 3.11 and PD 3.12) and the mandatory wording of a Statement of Truth. The following two paragraphs achieve this.

I understand that my overriding duty is to the court and I have complied with, and will continue to comply with, that duty. I have no conflict of interest of any kind.

I confirm that insofar as the facts stated in my report are within my own knowledge I have made clear which they are and I believe them to be true, and that the opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinion.

Obviously, if you do have a conflict of interest you need to consider the further guidance in PD 3.12 and modify the second sentence of this declaration accordingly.

Crime

Reports written for cases covered by the Criminal Procedure Rules

Date introduced: 5 October 2009 (CrimPR Update 9)
Relevant rules: CrimPR 33.3, CrimPR 27.2

CrimPr 33.3(i) and (j) require that expert reports contain:

  • a statement that the expert understands his duty to the court, and has complied and will continue to comply with that duty; and
  • the same declaration of truth as a witness statement.

However, in the criminal arena, unlike the civil, statute itself prescribes the equivalent of a statement of truth. So the Criminal Procedure Rules do not offer a mandatory wording.

What the expert needs to do is to declare that:

  • any fact contained in the report is true, whether a fact within the expert’s own knowledge or the fact that something relied upon by the expert as fact came from the source the expert identifies, and
  • the expert’s opinions are all true, to the best of the expert’s knowledge and belief.

We believe that the following should achieve that end.

I understand that my overriding duty is to the court and I have complied with, and will continue to comply with, that duty.

This report is true to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I know that if it is introduced in evidence then it would be an offence wilfully to have stated in it anything that I knew to be false or did not believe to be true.

The position in Scotland

According to theProfessional Practice Helpline of the Law Society of Scotland, there is no requirement for a statement of truth on expert witness reports prepared for use in Scottish courts. Scottish courts rely far more on the oral evidence from expert witnesses, which will be given under oath.

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November 2009

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