THE STATEMENT OF TRUTH AND WITNESSES WITH POOR ENGLISH: PRACTICE DIRECTION 22
The post earlier today about witness statements in a foreign language led (almost immediately) to a telephone enquiry as to what happens when a party cannot read or understand the statement of truth in a statement of case. The answer lies in Practice Direction 22.
THE PRACTICE DIRECTION
Inability to persons to read or sign documents to be verified by a statement of truth
3A.1 Where a document containing a statement of truth is to be signed by a person who is unable to read or sign the document, it must contain a certificate made by an authorised person.
3A.2 An authorised person is a person able to administer oaths and take affidavits but need not be independent of the parties or their representatives.
3A.3 The authorised person must certify:
(1) that the document has been read to the person signing it;
(2) that that person appeared to understand it and approved its content as accurate;
(3) that the declaration of truth has been read to that person;
(4) that that person appeared to understand the declaration and the consequences of making a false declaration; and
(5) that that person signed or made his mark in the presence of the authorised person.
3A.4 The form of the certificate is set out at Annex 1 to this Practice Direction.
Certificate to be used where a person is unable to read or sign a document to be verified by a statement of truth
I certify that I [name and address of authorised person] have read over the contents of this document and the declaration of truth to the person signing the document [if there are exhibits, add ‘and explained the nature and effect of the exhibits referred to in it’] who appeared to understand (a) the document and approved its content as accurate and (b) the declaration of truth and the consequences of making a false declaration, and made his mark in my presence.
My colleague Mark Henley has an article on this topic on Zenith Chambers’ website “Statements of Truth, Translation and Witnesses with Poor English.”