From 6 April 2020, all documents in civil proceedings which need to be signed with a statement of truth must include additional wording, as set out in the 113th update to the CPR which can be found here:-
WHAT WORDING SHOULD BE USED FOR STATEMENTS OF CASE?
The new wording for verifying documents such as a statement of case, a response or an application notice is as follows:-
“[I believe] [the (claimant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true. 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.”
- This is a change to the previous version of a statement of truth which simply required the person signing to confirm that the facts were true.
- The new statement of truth now explicitly highlights the consequences of signing a statement of truth without an honest belief.
WHAT WORDING SHOULD BE USED FOR WITNESS STATEMENTS?
The new wording for witness statements is as follows:-
“I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. 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 same changes have been made to the statement of truth necessary for verifying a witness statement.
- Further, the statement of truth must be in the witness’s own language and, in accordance with amendments made to Practice Direction 32, any witness statement must also state the process by which it was prepared.
- For instance, this could be face-to-face, over the telephone and/or through an interpreter.
Whilst the sanctions for making or causing a false statement to be made are not new, the fact that these are now explicitly set out in the statement of truth will surely focus the minds of those signing as to the consequences of their actions. Being in contempt of court can result in in a fine and/or imprisonment up to maximum of two years.
It is therefore critical that anyone signing documents with a statement of truth fully understands and appreciates every detail contained within the document and holds an “honest” belief in its truth.
If you require any advice or assistance in dealing with the issues we have outlined above please contact Catherine Burgess by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 020 7644 7283 or connect with her on LinkedIn.