Changes to Statement of Truth for CPR expert witnesses

New wording for Expert Witness’s Statement of Truth

Charles Lazarevic - forensic accountant

Charles Lazarevic – Changes to CPR

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 [2019]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.

Charles Lazarevic

1 October 2020

Checklist for Concurrent Expert Evidence

Expert Witness Concurrent Expert Evidence
Expert’s giving concurrent expert evidence

Assisting lawyers: preparing expert witnesses to give concurrent expert evidence

I have prepared a checklist for lawyers to consider when instructing experts to give concurrent expert evidence (commonly called “hot tubbing”) in court or at an arbitration. This guidance is based on my experience of giving concurrent expert evidence in arbitrations and in court.

Checklist:

• Always remember – the expert witness’s overriding duty is to assist the court/tribunal with their expertise.

• Draft the expert report in the knowledge that the judge/arbitrator may invite the expert with the apparently superior knowledge or more controversial position to take the lead in presenting the expert evidence.

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