PRACTICE DIRECTION 17A – STATEMENTS OF TRUTH
See also Part 17
PRACTICE DIRECTION 17A – STATEMENTS OF TRUTHThis Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 17
Documents to be verified by a statement of truth
Rule 17.2 sets out the documents which must be verified by a statement of truth.
If an applicant wishes to rely on matters set out in his application notice as evidence, the application notice must be verified by a statement of truth.
An expert's report should also be verified by a statement of truth. For the form of the statement of truth verifying an expert's report (which differs from that set out below), see paragraph 9.1(j) of Practice Direction 25B (The Duties Of An Expert, The Expert’s Report and Arrangements For An Expert To Attend Court).
In addition, the following documents must be verified by a statement of truth –
(a) an application notice for –
(i) a third party debt order (CPR Part 72 as modified by rule 33.24);
(ii) a hardship payment order (CPR Part 72 as modified by rule 33.24); or
(iii) a charging order (CPR Part 73 as modified by rule 33.25); and
(b) a notice of objections to an account being taken by the court, unless verified by an affidavit or witness statement.
The statement of truth may be contained in the document it verifies or it may be in a separate document served subsequently, in which case it must identify the document to which it relates.
Where the form to be used includes a jurat for the content to be verified by an affidavit, then a statement of truth is not required in addition.
In this Practice Direction, ‘statement of case’ has the meaning given to it by rule 17.1.
Form of the statement of truth
The form of the statement of truth verifying a statement of case or an application notice should be as follows:
‘[I understand] [the (applicant or as the case may be) understands] 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. [I believe] [the (applicant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true.”
The form of the statement of truth verifying a witness statement should be as follows:
“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.
I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.”
Where the statement of truth is contained in a separate document, the document containing the statement of truth must be headed with the title of and court reference for the proceedings. The document being verified should be identified in the statement of truth as follows –
(a) application form: ‘the application form issued on [date]’;
(b) statement of case: ‘the (application or answer as may be) served on [name of party] on [date]’;
(c) application notice: ‘the application notice issued on [date] for [set out the remedy sought]’;
(d) witness statement: ‘the witness statement filed on [date] or served on [party] on [date]’.
Practice Direction 9A makes provision in relation to statements of truth to be included in costs estimates and particulars of costs to be filed and served in accordance with rule 9.27(1), (2), (3) or (4).”.
Who may sign the statement of truth
In a statement of case or an application notice, the statement of truth must be signed by –
(a) the party or his litigation friend; or
(b) the legal representative of the party or litigation friend.
A statement of truth verifying a witness statement must be signed by the witness.
A statement of truth verifying a notice of objections to an account must be signed by the objecting party or his or her legal representative.
Where a document is to be verified on behalf of a company or corporation, subject to paragraph 3.7 below, the statement of truth must be signed by a person holding a senior position in the company or corporation. That person must state the office or position he or she holds.
Each of the following persons is a person holding a senior position –
(a) in respect of a registered company or corporation, a director, the treasurer, secretary, chief executive, manager or other officer of the company or corporation; and
(b) in respect of a corporation which is not a registered company, in addition to those persons set out in (a), the major, chairman, president, chief executive of a local authority or town clerk or other similar officer of the corporation.
Where the document is to be verified on behalf of a partnership, those who may sign the statement of truth are –
(a) any of the partners; or
(b) a person having the management or control of the partnership business.
Where a party is legally represented, the legal representative may sign the statement of truth on his or her behalf. The statement signed by the legal representative will refer to the client's belief, not his or her own. In signing he or she must state the capacity in which he or she signs and the name of his or her firm where appropriate.
Where a legal representative has signed a statement of truth, his or her signature will be taken by the court as his or her statement –
(a) that the client on whose behalf he or she has signed had authorised him or her to do so;
(b) that before signing he or she had explained to the client that in signing the statement of truth he or she would be confirming the client's belief that the facts stated in the document were true; and
(c) that before signing he or she had informed the client of the possible consequences to the client if it should subsequently appear that the client did not have an honest belief in the truth of those facts (see rule 17.6).
A legal representative who signs a statement of truth must print his or her full name clearly beneath his or her signature.
The individual who signs a statement of truth must sign in his or her own name and not that of his or her firm or employer.
The following are examples of the possible application of this practice direction describing who may sign a statement of truth verifying statements in documents other than a witness statement. These are only examples and not an indication of how a court might apply the practice direction to a specific situation.
An agent who manages property or investments for the party cannot sign a statement of truth. It must be signed by the party or by the legal representative of the party.
Where some or all of the trustees comprise a single party one, some or all of the trustees comprising the party may sign a statement of truth. The legal representative of the trustees may sign it.
Paragraphs 3.4 and 3.5 apply. The word ‘manager’ will be construed in the context of the phrase ‘a person holding a senior position’ which it is used to define. The court will consider the size of the company and the importance and nature of the proceedings. It would expect the manager signing the statement of truth to to have personal knowledge of the content of the document or to be responsible for those who have that knowledge of the content. A small company may not have a manager, apart from the directors, who holds a senior position. A large company will have many such managers. In a large company with specialist claims, insurance or legal departments the statement may be signed by the manager of such a department if he or she is responsible for handling the claim or managing the staff handling it.
Inability of persons to read or sign documents to be verified by a statement of truth
Where a document containing a statement of truth is to be signed by a person who is unable to read or sign the document, it must contain a certificate made by an authorised person.
An authorised person is a person able to administer oaths and take affidavits but need not be independent of the parties or their representatives.
The authorised person must certify –
(a) that the document has been read to the person signing it;
(b) that the person appeared to understand it and approved its content as accurate;
(c) that the declaration of truth has been read to that person;
(d) that that person appeared to understand the declaration and the consequences of making a false declaration; and
(e) that that person signed or made his mark in the presence of the authorised person.
The form of the certificate is set out at the Annex to this Practice Direction.
(a) a form referred to in Practice Direction 5A; or
(b) a form completed or generated by electronic means in accordance with Part 41 FPR,
(c) a document other than a form referred to in sub-paragraph (a) or (b), such as a witness statement
makes provision for an electronic signature of a statement of truth, references in this Practice Direction to “sign”, “signs”, “signed” and “signing” are to be read as including an electronic signature. An electronic signature could, for example, be in the form of the following being included next to a statement of truth: a tick box, a printed name, an image of a signature or a digital signature generated by commercial software. (Section 7 of the Electronic Communications Act 2000 provides for the use of an electronic signature in an electronic communication.)
Paragraph 4A.1 is subject to any direction of the court on a case by case basis that the signature on a given statement of truth must be in a specified form, for example by being handwritten.
Consequences of failure to verify
If a statement of case is not verified by a statement of truth, the statement of case will remain effective unless it is struck out, but a party may not rely on the contents of a statement of case as evidence until it has been verified by a statement of truth.
Any party may apply to the court for an order that unless within such period as the court may specify the statement of case is verified by the service of a statement of truth, the statement of case will be struck out.
The usual order for the costs of an application referred to in paragraph 5.2 will be that the costs be paid by the party who had failed to verify, in any event and immediately.
Attention is drawn to rule 17.6 which sets out the consequences of verifying a statement of case containing a false statement without an honest belief in its truth, and to the procedures set out in Part 37 (Applications and proceedings in relation to contempt of court).
Certificate to be used where a person is unable to read or sign a document to be verified by a statement of truth
I certify that I [name and address of authorised person] have read the contents of this document and the declaration of truth to the person signing the document [if there are exhibits, add ‘and explained the nature and effect of the exhibits referred to in it’] who appeared to understand (a) the document and approved its content as accurate and (b) the declaration of truth and the consequences of making a false declaration, and made his or her mark in my presence.