WITNESS STATEMENT OF OPINION IS OF NO ASSISTANCE AND WAS NOT ADMITTED

There is a telling passage in the judgment of Richard Salter QC in St Vincent European General Partner Ltd -v- Robinson [2016] EWHC 2920 (Comm). A statement of bare opinion, with nothing to support it, was not admitted in evidence. “In my judgment, Mr Phillippou’s opinions on those issues are neither properly admissible as expert […]

WITNESS STATEMENTS: WHEN CAN A LAY WITNESS GIVE OPINION EVIDENCE?THE STATUTE, THE CASES & SOME GUIDANCE

I have written, many times, about the dangers of putting opinion evidence into witness statements.  The attempts of witnesses to be experts, or to tell the judge what the outcome of the case should be, can lead to robust adverse comments* . However, as in most things, there is an exception to this rule.   […]

HILLSBOROUGH AND WITNESS STATEMENTS 2: THE EARLY MIXING OF FACT AND OPINION

The previous post in this series looked at the issues that arose when the solicitors for the police force sent out a missive asking the police officers on the ground for their “comment and impression”.  There was an immediate mixing of factual statements, comment and opinion which the police force then spent years trying to […]

A BASIC THING THAT ANYONE PREPARING A WITNESS STATEMENT SHOULD KNOW: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACTS AND OPINION

  This blog has often observed that many litigators could make life a lot simpler if lay witnesses statements stopped trying to give expert evidence and expert witnesses stopped trying to determine issues of fact. I am grateful to Jeff Turton on Weightmans for pointing out the observations in  Miller -v- AIG Europe Ltd *(15th January 2016, […]

APPEALS ON ISSUES OF FACT: SPECULATION AND “OPINION” EVIDENCE FROM WITNESSES IS TO NO AVAIL

In Macleod -v- the Commission of Police for the Metropolis [2015] EWCA Civ 688 the Court of Appeal set out the criteria for appealing findings of fact. Further the case highlights the important distinction between what witnesses saw and what they thought they saw. In particular “opinion” evidence from lay witnesses was, rightly, disregarded. THE […]

OPINION EVIDENCE IN WITNESS STATEMENTS AND THE CASE THAT MAY HAVE SPARKED OFF THE JACKSON REFORMS: Multiplex -v- Cleveland Bridge

Whilst doing some work on the problems caused when lay witnesses attempt to give expert evidence I came across the case of  Multiplex Constructions (UK) LImited -v- Cleveland Bridge UK Limited [2008] EWHC 2220(TCC). It makes interesting reading for a number of reasons. THE CASE The action related to work done on the new Wembley […]

THE RIHANNA CASE AND OPINION EVIDENCE IN WITNESS STATEMENTS: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT GOT THE TEE SHIRT

We should, perhaps, get used to celebrities dominating the law reports. After court fees are increased they will be the only people who will be able to afford litigation in any event.  The case of Robyn Rihanna Fenty -v- Arcadia Group Brands Limited [2015] EWCA Civ 3 is the headlines today. Less well publicised is […]

THE DANGERS OF LETTING WITNESSES GIVE THEIR OPINIONS: IT HINDERS RATHER THAN HELPS YOUR CASE

A post yesterday reviewed the comments on witness statements made in the Jackson Report.  One major criticism was that witness statements were being used to advance matters of opinion and not fact.  A case decided yesterday exemplifies that problem. It is worthwhile having a look at examples of this happening. FARRUGIA -V- BURTENSHAW This case, […]

OPINION ON MITCHELL: ARTICLE IN PERSONAL INJURY FOCUS

I decided from the outset that this blog will be a medium for information rather than opinion.However Rachel Rothwell asked me to write an article for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers Personal Injury Focus.  She wanted my opinions.  The article (together with wonderful graphics) is attached. PI Focus Article

CAN MR MITCHELL STILL GET HIS COSTS? A PROFESSOR’S OPINION

The comments section is at the bottom right hand side of this blog and a comment from Professor Hibbert made earlier this week may have been missed by many. I set it out below. No doubt this will give rise to some discussion and debate. On the 2nd December Professor Hibbert wrote:- “As a matter of […]