Proposals for a new Practice Direction and Appendix governing the preparation of witness statements for trials in the Business and Property Courts, which were recently approved by the Business and Property Courts Board, have now been approved in principle by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee.

There are some final points of drafting still being considered, but subject to those points the final versions are likely to receive approval in January 2021 and to come into force on 6 April 2021. The new PD and Appendix will include a requirement to list documents to which the witness has referred or been referred for the purpose of providing their evidence – a point which divided the witness evidence working group but has specifically been approved by the CPRC.

Assuming the new provisions come into force from 6 April, they will apply to all trial witness statements signed on or after that date – some of which may already be in progress currently, particularly in larger or more complex cases. It is therefore important for parties who litigate in the Business and Property Courts, and their advisers, to familiarise themselves with the new requirements now.

Click here to see the proposed new PD and Appendix in the form presented to the CPRC. For a discussion of the proposals see this blog post that Anna Pertoldi has published on Practical Law’s Dispute Resolution Blog.