The strict rules on preparing witness statements do not apply to small claims hearings. A judge will not expect a litigant in person to produce perfectly set out legal documents. Nonetheless, a witness statement produced in accordance with the relevant law will be a more useful and credible document.
Part 32 of the Civil Procedures Rules contain guidance on preparing witness statements.
The Heading of a Witness Statement
A witness statement should clearly identify the particular case and party to which it relates. The top left hand corner should give the name of the court where the case is to be heard. The top right hand corner should state:
The party for whom the witness statement has been prepared;
The date on which the witness statement was made; and,
The claim number of the case.
The name of the case should then be written in the centre of the page on consecutive lines, as follows:
The name of the Claimant, for example "Roger Brown", with the word "Claimant" written in the right hand margin;
The word "and";
The name of the Defendant, for example "David Barnwell", with the word "Defendant" written in the right hand margin.
Finally the witness statement's title should appear, centred on the page, as follows:
WITNESS STATEMENT OF ROGER BROWN.
The Opening Paragraphs
A witness statement should start by explaining who is making the witness statement and what their involvement is with the case.
1. I live at 42 Tall Trees, Bedford and am the Claimant in this case. I make this statement in support of my claim for money due under an agreement for the supply of goods and services. This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
2. I run my own business as a builder and kitchen-fitter and trade as "Build EZ".
The Body of the Witness Statement
The witness statement should set out the facts of the case - as the witness knows them - in a logical order. If the witness statement refers to any documents these should be exhibited to the witness statement.
3. On or about 27 February 2011 I received a telephone call from David Barnwell, the Defendant in this case. He said that he had seen my advert in the local paper and asked if I would come to his house to give him a quote for a fitted kitchen.
4. On or about 3rd March 2011 I visited the home of the Defendant. We discussed his requirements for the kitchen and I took the necessary measurements. Having researched local suppliers for the units and appliances that the Defendant wanted, I prepared a written quotation for £4000 to include supplying and fitting the kitchen. I refer to a copy of the written quotation attached hereto and marked 'RB1'. I sent the Defendant a copy of the quotation on or about 7th March 2011.
5. A few days after 7th March 2011 the Defendant telephoned me again. He said that he was happy with the quotation and asked me when I could start. I said that I would be able to start work on the kitchen on 26 March 2011 and that it would take about a week to do the work. The Defendant said he was happy with these dates and confirmed that he would like me to fit the kitchen.
6. As agreed I started work on the kitchen on 26 March 2011. There was a slight delay in completing the works because the new cooker was not delivered when expected. However, the kitchen was completed on 3 April 2011. I asked the Defendant to sign a copy of the invoice for £4000, to confirm that the works had been completed as agreed and he did. I refer to a copy of the invoice signed by the Defendant and dated 3 April 2011 attached hereto and marked 'RB2'. It can be seen that the invoice states that payment should be made within 30 days.
7. I have telephoned the Defendant many times and sent him letters asking for payment. However, the Defendant has failed to pay the amount due on the invoice. I refer to copies of the letters I have sent the Defendant requesting payment attached hereto and marked 'RB3'. The Defendant never complained about the kitchen and I do not know why he has failed to pay the money due.
8. I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.
To be valid the witness statement must contain a "statement of truth" as in paragraph 8 above.
Signing the Witness Statement
The witness statement must be signed by the witness (even if somebody else helped them write the witness statement).
My next door neighbour attempted some DIY work that resulted in damage to the gutter on my house,which leaked thereafter. He denied causing he damage, and on the day of the hearing, produced a 'witness' who, he claimed, was holding his ladder, to corroborate his version of events. In fact, the gutter is covered in part by our cctv cameras, and the recording clearly showed the true situation - including the fact that the 'witness' was not even present on that day. As required, I had provided both he and the court with an AVI file of the video prior to the hearing. He claimed he couldn't open the file - and this was backed up by the judge - who was clearly hostile towards me and very obviously sympathetic to the defendant. She did allow the video (on my laptop) to be played. She had little choice but to find in my favour - but continued to be hostile and refused to award some of the costs (recorded delivery postage etc.,) as I believe she had discretion to do so. I recount this case merely to demonstrate that - because the right of appeal in small claims cases is very restricted, the judge has no fear of displaying obvious bias, including open hostility to a claimant/ defendant. It appears also that they have the discretion to overlook what would be (regarding the 'witness') in a higher court, a very serious matter regarding perverting the course of justice.
Riggs - 23-Jun-19 @ 8:11 AM
Before my court date, I have received a defence statement from the defendants.In my witness statement, detailing my version of events, should I address the points the defendants have stated in there defence statement or leave it until court?Also, if I do address these points now, my statement will be provided to the defendants and their solicitor before the court hearing.Could this harm me and give the defendants solicitor ammunition etc?
Mark - 18-Mar-18 @ 6:00 PM
The strict rules on preparing witness statements do not apply to small claims hearings.
This statement is not substantiated in the GOV website governing this procedure.
Can the barrister -Louise please give me the official reference that sugstantiates this narrative???
THIS IS VERY URGENT
Az - 7-Apr-17 @ 1:28 PM
Throughout my five years in college at Florida Gulf Coast University, I lived with my sister, Erika Webber. We met Kyle our freshman year and Erika and Kyle began dating. In March, one week before Erika and Kyle’s one year anniversary Kyle pulled me aside and told me that he was buying Erika a dog for their anniversary. I remember telling Erika multiple times that she is going to be so excited about what Kyle got her for their anniversary. At midnight on the date of their anniversary, Kyle and I both walked into Erika’s dorm room to give her the news because we were both too excited to wait. He handed her the back of her phone case that she had lost and a card. Inside the card, he wrote that he was getting her a dog. They were both very excited about the dog. They came across Passion, a chow at the Naples Humane Society. In April, I went with Erika, Kyle, and a few other friends to the Naples Humane Society to give Passion a visit. While there, we came across Carmelo (now Brody). Erika instantly fell in love with him. They were unable to bring him home however because he had mange and needed to finish his treatment at the humane society. Erika and I lived in the dorms our freshman and sophomore year and were in the dorms when they brought Brody home from the humane society. I asked Kyle what would happen to Brody if he and Erika ever split up and he told me that the two of them agreed that Erika would get Brody since it was his gift to her for their anniversary. Our last three years at the university, Erika and I lived in an apartment complex. Kyle ended up moving in down the street from our apartment and spent a majority of his time at our apartment. Kyle and Erika were both in school and both worked at the local mall. In the beginning, they took turns letting Brody out throughout their days and had agreed to switch off every other time with who was going to purchase his dog food. Unfortunately, I started to notice a particular trend: Kyle began telling Erika various excuses for why he could not buy him his food. Erika ended up paying for all of his vet visits the past few years as well as most of his dog food. I have been to Kyle’s house for a few parties and became disturbed when I saw Kyle’s roommates pouring beer in Brody’s mouth multiple times; I spoke up about this matter because Kyle just sat there and laughed. Kyle is not a competent dog owner. Erika loves Brody and it is very apparent to strangers who come across her and Brody together on the street or at the dog park. Erika has been the sole parent for Brody for the last 3 years.
Alisha - 20-Jan-15 @ 11:17 PM
At a Small Claims court hearing a couple of days ago, judgement was given in my favour.The defendants, a Limited Company, are notoriously bad payers but I believe this is the first County Court judgement against them.They didn't show up to the hearing and their witness statement consisted of baseless accusations unsupported by any tabled evidence.
My question is whether Bailiffs can be brought into play to seize company assets, ie computers.They have £12k of tangible fixed assets on theor balance sheet.