ANOTHER LATE WITNESS STATEMENT: RELIEF FROM SANCTIONS REFUSED

There is a brief report on Lawtel of the decision of Judge Robinson in Buswell -v- Symes (QBD 20/04/2015) this involves another case where a witness statement was served late and permission to rely upon that statement was refused. *

THE CASE

The claimant was bringing an action for personal injury.  Part of his case was that a farm tractor driven by the First Defendant should have used a different exit from a farm. In March 2015 joint experts met and produced a joint report. On the 8th April the second defendant produced evidence from a new witness and sought permission to rely on that witness. The statement dealt with matters relating to the layout of the farm and use of alternative exits.

THE DECISION

  • Case management directions had stated that witness evidence could not be served late without permission of the court.
  • The witness should have been identified earlier.
  • The witness evidence was six months later and produced four weeks before the trial was due to start.
  • The breach was serious.
  • The breach had occurred because the litigator had failed to investigate the issues with reasonable promptness.
  • The claimant was put on the back foot at a late stage.
  • The defendant had produced contradictory evidence from their own witnesses, it was difficult to know what other problems could arise.
  • It was not fair to allow the evidence to be adduced at this late stage.
  • To allow the application would “drive a coach and horses” through Denton.

RELATED POSTS

* This post is based on the Lawtel summary.

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