A WITNESS STATEMENT “SIGNED OFF ON, WITH INSUFFICIENT CONSIDERATION AND SCRUTINY”
Lawyers are always, one would hope, telling clients and witnesses to read draft witness statements with care prior to signing them. An example of the problems that a failure to consider the matter in detail can be seen in the judgment of Mrs Justice Cockerill in PBS Energo AS v Bester Generacion UK Ltd & Anor  EWHC 223 (TCC). A case that is perhaps remarkable because it was a lawyer who had to make major alterations to their statement. The judge found that these were honest mistakes, however it shows the importance of the careful checking of statements. The alterations led to an adjournment, it is highly probable that the party calling that witness (which was successful) ending up paying the costs of the adjournment in any event.
“this genuinely was an extremely unfortunate case of a statement having been signed off on with insufficient consideration and scrutiny, and better recollection having been prompted by full reading of the underlying materials shortly prior to trial.”
The judge was giving judgment following a lengthy trial on the issue of which party was entitled to terminate the contract and who should pay consequential damages.
The judgment contains an assessment of the witnesses, including the in-house lawyer for one of the parties.