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Witness statement: include everything

Claims very often have a main bit that is the real reason for going to tribunal, plus various little bits tacked on that wouldn’t have been important enough to make a claim about on their own, but which you felt, when you drafted your claim, that you might as well put in while you were about it.

So, for instance, complaints that a dismissal was discriminatory or unfair are often accompanied by more minor disputes about holiday pay or contractual notice pay.

When it comes to writing your witness statement, it is easy to overlook these extra bits. But it is important to remember that if the tribunal is going to make a decision about them, it will need to hear some evidence. So when you think you’ve finished your statement, look at it side-by-side with your ET1 and check that you have given evidence in your witness statement about everything you have complained about in your ET1.

If when it comes to it the extra bits just don’t seem important enough to bother with, you don’t have to pursue them. But if that is your decision, don’t just leave them out of your statement – tell the tribunal and the other side that you are withdrawing them. Otherwise you will risk giving the other side an excuse to apply for costs on the basis that you have put them to the trouble of defending this aspect of your claim and then not bothered to pursue it.

One comment

  1. Adrian Melia

    I am tempted to just write “except in Scotland”.

    I am running my first case under Scottish jurisdiction and was surprised to discover just how different the rules are on witnesses. There are no witness statements prepared in advance, and witnesses are not allowed into the hearing until they have given their evidence. This system is good in the sense that it inhibits witnesses from adapting their stories to meet what has been said by others. It is a pain for advocates (especially those weened on the English way) because it requires much more thinking on one’s feet than is necessary when you know precisely what someone is going to say in advance.

    Perhaps a section on the peculiarities of the Scottish system would be a helpful addition to your wonderful book.

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