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Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

To contact our Singapore office, please contact our BD Director, Asia, Rachel Foxton. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex Street
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

09/06/2021

Will London-Seated arbitration follow the English Courts’ approach to witness statements?

David Lewis QC and Andrew Dinsmore

This article considers Practice Direction 57AC (PD57AC), which changes the approach to witness evidence in the English Courts, and its potential impact on London-seated arbitration.

The new approach to witness statements in English litigation

On 6 April 2021, the English Business and Property Courts marked a significant change in the approach that lawyers, and witnesses, are to take to witness statements, as PD57AC came into effect.

Witness statements in the English Courts became the norm with the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”) in 1999. The intention was to save time in Court and ensure that a witness’s evidence was not determined by their ability to recall the facts under the stress of being in Court. It was hoped that the evidence would be more accurate.1)
The outcome was that statements became (i) over-lawyered, (ii) a vehicle for submissions, whereby a witness would provide a commentary on a substantial number of key documents (often quoting those documents at length), and, as the years passed, (iii) longer and longer, and (iv) more and more expensive. As it was put by Sir Geoffrey Vos V-C:

“[W]itness statements became gargantuan and costly, and did not stick to the main evidential points in issue, but began over time to range far and wide over the entire history of the relationship between the parties. They were drafted by lawyers and often moved miles away from the [precise words] of the witnesses.”

Cross-examination risked being a contest as to which witness could best remember the contents of their voluminous witness statement, with advocates regularly alighting upon a word the meaning of which the witness did not know.

Read the full article on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, published 8 June 2021.

Relevant members
David Lewis QC Andrew Dinsmore
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