An amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules in the UK is including mandatory changes to statements of truth which are intended to reduce fraudulent claims.
A statement of truth is a declaration included in any statement of case, witness statement, expert's report and certain other documents that confirms that the facts mentioned in the document are true.
Effective April 6, witness statements and statements of truth in all claims need to include (opens a new window) a declaration that the statement maker 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 honest belief in its veracity.
The change will add more power to the wording which currently only says: “I believe that the facts stated in this [statement of case/witness statement] are true”.
In future, statements of truth in all claims will need to include the following paragraph: “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.”
This change follows a number of cases involving claims related to the hire of alternative vehicle on credit (credit hire) where courts concluded that the claims were fraudulent.
In the Mansur Haider v DSM Demolition Ltd 2019 case, for example, the High Court decided that the claimants were fundamentally dishonest, having initially claimed that they were poor which was found not to be true.
The key change to the wording of the statement of truth makes it clear that the person signing understands the contempt of court implications, which may prevent more people from signing a statement of truth knowing that the document contains untrue facts. The amendments to Civil Procedure Rules also require claimants to submit additional information and more specific details around the need and circumstances of the vehicle hire which is also likely to reduce the cost of claims.