Experts in England and Wales are in the unhappy position of having to use different Statements of Truth in reports directed at the civil, crime and family courts. To help you get the wording correct every time, we list exactly what is required below.
Reports written for cases covered by the Civil Procedure Rules
Date introduced: 1 October 2009 (CPR Update 50)
Date updated: 1 October 2020 (CPR Update 124)
Relevant rules: CPR 35 PD 3.2.9, CPR 35 PD 3.3
All that the CPR require is a statement embodying the declarations in CPR PD 3.2.9 and the mandatory wording of the Statement of Truth in CPR PD 3.3. The following three paragraphs achieve this.
I understand that my overriding duty is to the court and I have complied with that duty. I am aware of the requirements of CPR Part 35, its practice direction and the CJC Guidance for the instruction of experts in civil claims.
I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.
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.
Reports written for cases covered by the Family Procedure Rules
Date introduced: 30 January 2013
Relevant rules: FPR PD 25B 9.1(i)
The Family PD requires four declarations (PD 3.11 and PD 3.12) and the mandatory wording of a Statement of Truth. The following two paragraphs achieve this.
I am aware of the requirements of FPR Part 25 and associated practice directions, I understand that my overriding duty is to the court and I have complied with, and will continue to comply with, that duty. I have no conflict of interest of any kind.
I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirmto be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.
Obviously, if you do have a conflict of interest you need to consider the further guidance in PD 9.1i(ii-iv) and modify the second sentence of this declaration accordingly.
Where the report relates to children proceedings, the form of statement of truth must also include:
I also confirm that I have complied with the Standards for Expert Witnesses in Children Proceedings in the Family Court which are set out in the Annex to Practice Direction 25B – The Duties of an Expert, the Expert’s Report and Arrangements for an Expert to Attend Court.
Reports written for cases covered by the Criminal Procedure Rules
Date introduced: CrimPR update November 2016
Relevant rules: CrimPR 19.4 and CrimPR PD 19B
CrimPr 19.4(j) and (k) require that expert reports contain:
- contain a statement that the expert understands an expert’s duty to the court, and has complied and will continue to comply with that duty; and
- contain the same declaration of truth as a witness statement.
As of November 2016, the CrimPR now provides specific guidance on what should be included, split into a set of declarations and a statement of truth. Unlike the civil arena, however, the wording is not mandatory, but it should be in the following terms, or in terms substantially the same.
The declarations are:
I (name) DECLARE THAT:
- I understand that my duty is to help the court to achieve the overriding objective by giving independent assistance by way of objective, unbiased opinion on matters within my expertise, both in preparing reports and giving oral evidence. I understand that this duty overrides any obligation to the party by whom I am engaged or the person who has paid or is liable to pay me. I confirm that I have complied with and will continue to comply with that duty.
- I confirm that I have not entered into any arrangement where the amount or payment of my fees is in any way dependent on the outcome of the case.
- I know of no conflict of interest of any kind, other than any which I have disclosed in my report.
- I do not consider that any interest which I have disclosed affects my suitability as an expert witness on any issues on which I have given evidence.
- I will advise the party by whom I am instructed if, between the date of my report and the trial, there is any change in circumstances which affect my answers to points 3 and 4 above.
- I have shown the sources of all information I have used.
- I have exercised reasonable care and skill in order to be accurate and complete in preparing this report.
- I have endeavoured to include in my report those matters, of which I have knowledge or of which I have been made aware, that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion. I have clearly stated any qualifications to my opinion.
- I have not, without forming an independent view, included or excluded anything which has been suggested to me by others including my instructing lawyers.
- I will notify those instructing me immediately and confirm in writing if for any reason my existing report requires any correction or qualification.
- I understand that:
- my report will form the evidence to be given under oath or affirmation;
- the court may at any stage direct a discussion to take place between experts;
- the court may direct that, following a discussion between the experts, a statement should be prepared showing those issues which are agreed and those issues which are not agreed, together with the reasons;
- I may be required to attend court to be cross-examined on my report by a cross-examiner assisted by an expert.
- I am likely to be the subject of public adverse criticism by the judge if the Court concludes that I have not taken reasonable care in trying to meet the standards set out above.
- I have read Part 19 of the Criminal Procedure Rules and I have complied with its requirements.
- I confirm that I have acted in accordance with the code of practice or conduct for experts of my discipline, namely [identify the code]
- [For Experts instructed by the Prosecution only] I confirm that I have read guidance contained in a booklet known as Disclosure: Experts’ Evidence and Unused Material which details my role and documents my responsibilities, in relation to revelation as an expert witness. I have followed the guidance and recognise the continuing nature of my responsibilities of disclosure. In accordance with my duties of disclosure, as documented in the guidance booklet, I confirm that:
- I have complied with my duties to record, retain and reveal material in accordance with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, as amended;
- I have compiled an Index of all material. I will ensure that the Index is updated in the event I am provided with or generate additional material;
- in the event my opinion changes on any material issue, I will inform the investigating officer, as soon as reasonably practicable and give reasons.
The statement of truth is:
I confirm that the contents of this report are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make this report knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I would be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything which I know to be false or that I do not believe to be true.
The position in Scotland
According to the Professional Practice Helpline of the Law Society of Scotland, there is no requirement for a statement of truth on expert witness reports prepared for use in Scottish courts. Scottish courts rely far more on the oral evidence from expert witnesses, which will be given under oath.