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Preparation of lay witness statements

by Donald Charrett

Dr Donald Charrett (2012) 15.6 InHouse Counsel 243

Given the nature of lay evidence required to record a person’s knowledge of events, and their familiarity with the relevant documents, in some cases it may be possible for a lay witness to prepare a first draft of their witness statement independently. This paper provides some guidelines that counsel could use as part of the briefing material for such a lay witness. Properly used, such a procedure has the potential to save money by minimising the time lawyers need to spend with a witness. If a lay witness follows the guidelines in this paper in preparing a witness statement, it will considerably reduce the time that he/she may need to spend with a lawyer. Provided that it is completed in the required timeframe, it is likely to be a more efficient use of a person’s time than an uninterrupted period of time committed to speaking with a lawyer and simultaneously finding the relevant documents.

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