Witness Statements: A Firm Reminder from the Commercial Court of the Importance of Meeting Deadlines
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- Achievable deadlines should be considered when the directions for the service of evidence are set at a Case Management Conference (“CMC”).
- Issues that ought to have been considered when determining an appropriate deadline (for example, the availability of the legal team, additional time needed to correspond with witnesses in other time zones and travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19) will not be good reasons for justifying an extension of time to serve witness evidence.
- There are serious consequences arising from failure to serve witness evidence in time. A party may be debarred from adducing evidence from any witness whose statement has not been provided by the required date and time. Further, a party that fails to meet multiple deadlines that have been extended by agreement may be subject to an award for indemnity costs.
- The Commercial Court places high expectations on parties involved in large commercial litigation and represented by global law firms to prepare rigorously for the CMC and comply with the timetable set to progress a case to trial.