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Statement of Truth – Change in wording on 6 April 2020

By Gill Burnett


Published 06 April 2020


From 6 April 2020, documents requiring a signed statement attesting to a belief in the truth of the facts within that document, must also include the additional words set out in bold below:

“[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.”

The above additions will be brought into force by the 113th Update to the Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction Amendments, by updating CPR r.22 Practice Direction 22, paragraphs:

2.1: (adding the wording in bold above to statements of truth)

2.4: Requiring the statement of truth to be written in the witness’ own language

2.5: Requiring a statement of truth to be dated with the date it was signed

In a related update to Practice Direction 32 (Evidence) witness statements must be prepared in the witness’ own language and be accompanied by an English translation, the process by which the statement had been prepared and the date of the translation must also be stated.

The additional wording is being added to statements of truth to bring the potential consequences of false statements to the attention of the witness/signatory at the moment they complete the document. These amendments follow the Court of Appeal judgment in Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited v Dr Asef Zafar [2019] EWCA 392 (Civ) which concerned the sentencing of an expert witness who had signed a false statement of truth, amending his opinion on the prognosis of a claimant, based only upon the request of his instructing solicitor. The Court of Appeal found the suspension of the six month custodial sentence was inappropriate given the seriousness of the case.