Author

Katie Chandler

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Author

Katie Chandler

Partner

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18 May 2020

Disputes Quick Read – 38 of 63 Insights

Disputes quick read: Mandatory changes to Statements of Truth

  • QUICK READ

Parties to litigation are required to verify key documents such as statements of case and witness statements by a statement of truth. A person signing confirms that they believe the facts stated in the document are true. This was one of the significant innovations in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. The purpose was to put an end to parties pursuing a case that they knew to be untrue or unsupported by evidence, or pleading aspirationally, hoping something might turn up in the course of the proceedings.

There was a sense among the judiciary that the real importance of statements of truth had been lost over time and so the Civil Procedure Rule Committee have made amendments. As of 6 April 2020, the statement of truth now expressly includes a reference to the maker of the statement understanding that "proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth".

Now that the severe consequences of making a false statement are expressly spelt out (contempt of court is punishable by two years in prison), the court will have very little sympathy for a party, faced with an allegation of having made a false statement, claiming not to have understood the significance of the statement of truth and the need for an honest belief in the truth of the contents of the document being signed.

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