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What happens if a Claimant does not file a witness statement?

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  • What happens if a Claimant does not file a witness statement?

    Hello All

    I have been searching all over for some sort of guidance. We are the Defendants in a case and we have received a package of information from the Claimant who has brought a small claims case. The packet contains some emails and absolutely no explanation of their case and nothing that looks like it could be a witness statement.

    The sole substance of the Claim is contained in 20 lines of incoherent rant in the Claim Statement when the claim was lodged and beyond that, no explanation at all as to what the Claimant thinks he should get.

    Im at a loss. What happens? How do we mount a defense against this when we have no idea what the Claimant is demanding beyond a vague demand for money which our solicitor has already told him he is not entitled to.

    How is this likely to play out in court and what are we likely to expect? Should I go ahead and prepare my own arguments anyway just in case he makes a case to the judge by voice? Is he allowed to do this? I thought the whole point of exchanging documents was to broadly understand what each side was intending to say?

    Has anyone come across this situation before? What happened?

    Many thanks

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Part 32 are the rules on evidence and witness statements. In particular, see rules 32.2, 32.4 and 32.10

    PART 32 - EVIDENCE - Civil Procedure Rules (justice.gov.uk)

    In short and as a general rule, no witness statement = no evidence = no case.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by R0b View Post
      Part 32 are the rules on evidence and witness statements. In particular, see rules 32.2, 32.4 and 32.10

      PART 32 - EVIDENCE - Civil Procedure Rules (justice.gov.uk)

      In short and as a general rule, no witness statement = no evidence = no case.
      Thank you. I had read those rules, but it still doesnt answer what happens in this case? Will the Judge just allow the Claimant to give his version orally without any further need for written information? Has anyone ever seen this happen before in reality and if so what did happen in that case?

      The information the Claimant has supplied is a bunch of emails (half a dozen) with no explanation at all. I am unsure how to challenge this as valid "evidence" and is there some sort of standard that he should adhere to? This is a money claim, but I still have no idea how he has calculated any of the money he is demanding.

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      • #4
        If a claimant does not file a witness statement, look at what there is and consider whether he can prove his claim. You can only fight the material the claimant puts in front of you.

        I have acted for Defendants in similar cases, in which the judge has accepted the argument that the claimant has not presented evidence to prove the claim and must therefore lose.
        Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now in academia. I do not advise by private message.

        Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf

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        • #5
          Originally posted by atticus View Post
          If a claimant does not file a witness statement, look at what there is and consider whether he can prove his claim. You can only fight the material the claimant puts in front of you.

          I have acted for Defendants in similar cases, in which the judge has accepted the argument that the claimant has not presented evidence to prove the claim and must therefore lose.
          So I should just attempt to address the Claim Statement (such as it is) point by point and discredit the claims made there? How much of the defense packet does a judge actually read before the actual day? Do they have time to read it, or do they just skim the statements and make a judgement from there? Our solicitor did a lovely job of the "jog on" letter to the Claimant which explains the law far better than I could. Is it likely that the judge will actually read it?

          Is there any chance of the Judge just coming to the conclusion that the Claimant has no case, or hasnt bothered to really explain his position and just throwing it out anyway? I'm not looking forward to having to actually argue this in court, especially if the Claimant does not explain what the problem is beyond "you owe me, pay up".

          Comment


          • #6
            The answer to your first question So I should just attempt to address the Claim Statement (such as it is) point by point and discredit the claims made there? is yes, you should be ready to do just that.

            As to the other things, well if there is anything you want the judge to read, make sure that you ask him (or her) whether he has read it and if not, ask him to do so. Be ready to draw his attention to specific parts of documents. Make your points, do not expect the judge to see them without you explaining them.

            And yes, it is possible that the judge will come to the right conclusion for himself, without hearing from you, but do not rely on it.
            Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now in academia. I do not advise by private message.

            Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf

            Comment

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