REMOTE WORKING AND LITIGATOR 2: THE STATEMENT OF TRUTH
There are likely to be very few, if any, “face to face” meetings with clients in the near future. How do we cope with the statement of truth (I will deal with the specific issue of witness statements and the statement of truth in a later post).
A TOTAL VOLTE-FACE
I have spent many years telling litigators about the dangers of signing a statement of truth on their client’s behalf. Things have changed. In current times the lawyer signing the statement of truth may be desirable, perhaps even inevitable.
Even in these troubled times it is important to remember the importance of the document you are signing.
This this section from Practice Direction 22 – Statements of Truth.
“3.7 Where a party is legally represented, the legal representative may sign the statement of truth on his behalf. The statement signed by the legal representative will refer to the client’s belief, not his own. In signing he must state the capacity in which he signs and the name of his firm where appropriate.
3.8 Where a legal representative has signed a statement of truth, his signature will be taken by the court as his statement:
(1) that the client on whose behalf he has signed had authorised him to do so,
(2) that before signing he had explained to the client that in signing the statement of truth he would be confirming the client’s belief that the facts stated in the document were true, and
(3) that before signing he had informed the client of the possible consequences to the client if it should subsequently appear that the client did not have an honest belief in the truth of those facts (see rule 32.14).”
ALSO REMEMBER THE NEW WORDING
It is probable that most of the documents with a statement of truth you are signing now, or in the near future, contain the extra wording.
” 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.”
Make sure you have documented:
- That you have explained to the client the importance of the statement of truth.
- That you can show you have an “honest belief in the truth” of what you are signing.