New wording for Expert Witness Statement of Truth
A reminder to all solicitors that are currently instructing expert witnesses under CPR that from today PD35, paragraph 3.3 requires experts to include the following additional sentence in their Statement of Truth:
“I understand 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.”
The new wording reflects the seriousness with which courts view any false statements contained in a written report and follows the Court of Appeal’s guidance on dealing with such situations (not just for expert witnesses) following the decision in Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co.Ltd v Zafar EWCA Civ 392 to give the expert a suspended sentence. Dr Zafar had included information in his report at the request of his instructing solicitors that directly contradicted his actual findings on examination of the claimant and included an opinion on prognosis suggested by the solicitor.
The Court of Appeal decision discusses the appropriate sentence at some length and concludes that a prison term of no less than 12 months would have been appropriate in such situations and that it should be served immediately.
Presumably this additional wording will be introduced for Family Court or Criminal Court cases in due course.
This is a timely reminder to those that need forensic accountancy evidence that my firm chose “Vero Consulting” for its title to emphasise that truth forms the foundation for all our work. If you would like to discuss the implications of this change to CPR, please let me know.
1 October 2020