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Three Key Points You Need to Know About Witness Statements for Your Commercial Dispute

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As a business owner, you know that running a business requires effort. You need to manage it effectively and work hard to ensure it generates profit. However, running a successful business involves more than just these basics, as companies can face issues during their operations. One common problem is a commercial dispute, and having legal representation can be invaluable when dealing with such situations. Depending on the resolution method you choose, such as commercial court proceedings, you might have to depend on witnesses. They will offer factual evidence to support your case. This article will outline three key aspects of trial witness statements for resolving your commercial disputes.

What is a Commercial Dispute?

In a commercial dispute, you and another party disagree while conducting business together. This party could be another company or an individual, such as one of your business’ customers. Commercial disagreements arise for various reasons. For example, there might be a dispute over a commercial contract, where one party claims the other has not fulfilled their obligations. Alternatively, it could be a disagreement over how to interpret a contractual term.

If you find yourself in a commercial dispute, it is important to resolve it quickly and peacefully. You should pick a dispute resolution method that suits your business conflict best. For instance, opting for commercial litigation might entail utilising witness statements.

What Key Points Do I Need to Know?

If you need to use witness statements for your commercial dispute, understanding what these statements are and highlighting key aspects is crucial. Let us break down some key points below..

1. What is a Witness Statement?

A witness statement is a signed declaration made by someone who knows about your business dispute. It contains the evidence a witness would share if speaking in court. These statements inform the court and involved parties about the evidence you rely on in business proceedings. They include factual details about the dispute, affirmed by the witness as accurate, known as the Statement of Truth. By signing under this statement, the witness asserts their honest belief in the truthfulness of the document. If they fail to do so, they may face contempt of court.

2. What Should Be in a Witness Statement?

When using witness statements in legal proceedings, especially in commercial cases, you need to follow specific rules. These rules outline what a witness statement should contain. For instance, in commercial litigation, a witness statement should:

  • be written in the witness’ own words;
  • include the witness’ address, usually their work address, if they are involved in a business capacity;
  • present the facts known to the witness, usually in chronological order; and
  • indicate if the witness is employed by a business involved in the proceedings.

3. Information and Belief

When you compile witness statements for your commercial dispute, make sure you clearly state the source of the information and belief. This rule applies to witness statements in commercial cases because the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) require you to provide the source or basis of information if you do not directly know it. Therefore, your witness statement should distinguish between statements based on your knowledge and those based on other sources. You must include the person’s name as the source.

Failure to do so can make the witness statement defective. Although a court might allow a corrective second witness statement, it could also choose not to rely on that witness in commercial litigation.

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In a commercial dispute, your business disagrees with another company or person during business activities, such as over a contract. If your business finds itself in such a situation, you may choose court proceedings. In that case, you will likely use witness statements. These statements are signed accounts of facts related to evidence in the dispute, which the witness could also provide orally. Witness statements for commercial disputes must include specific details, such as being written in the witness’ own words. It is crucial when drafting witness statements for commercial disputes, to clearly indicate the source of information or belief, especially if the facts are outside the witness’ direct knowledge.

If you need help understanding witness statements for your commercial dispute, our experienced disputes and litigation solicitors can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. So call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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Clare Farmer

Clare Farmer

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