If you have a claim in the Employment Tribunal, at some stage you will be asked to draft and submit a Witness Statement. But what is a Witness Statement? Who should be submitting one and what needs to be included? Read on for more information.
What is a Witness Statement?
A Witness Statement is a formal document that contains a person’s evidence in relation to a claim. It is your opportunity to set out the facts and background of the claim and what impact the action has had on you.
Whatever you want the Employment Tribunal to be aware of to help support the facts or statements made within your Grounds of Claim should be included within your Witness Statement. It can be used to set out a more detailed background to the dispute or relationship between the parties.
The requirement for a Witness Statement is usually expressed within the Employment Tribunal’s Case Management Order. It will specify the deadline for exchanging the Witness Statement with the other party, ahead of the hearing.
Submitting a written Witness Statement can help speed up proceedings. Each party will know what evidence the other has in advance, and the Employment Tribunal will have the opportunity to review the evidence prior to any hearing.
Who should submit a Witness Statement?
If someone has information relevant to your claim, they should submit a Witness Statement to the Employment Tribunal. You may have colleagues who have been witness to the treatment you are complaining about. If so, you should ask them if they would make a statement in support of your claim.
If you are presenting evidence that is not within your personal knowledge, you should state the source of that information.
It may be that it is only you who has any evidence to present, which is fine. In this case, only you need to submit a witness statement.
How should a Witness Statement be set out?
The claim number and parties should be identified at the beginning of a Witness Statement.
Evidence should be set out in concise numbered paragraphs and written in the first person. The first paragraph should state the full name and address of the witness giving evidence.
It is best to try and address events in chronological order. The Employment Tribunal Judge will not have long to read through your documents prior to a hearing, so you need to ensure that the statement is easy to follow and only contains information relevant to the claim.
Any physical evidence referred to, for example a letter received, should have a reference to where that document can be located within the Hearing Bundle.
A Witness Statement should always be concluded with the appropriate statement of truth whereby the person giving the evidence confirms that the facts within the statement are true. The person giving the evidence should then sign and date the document.
What should I avoid doing in my Witness Statement?
There are a number of things you should try to avoid doing as part of your witness statement such as:
- Asking questions to the other party;
- Making any derogatory comments;
- Speculating; or
- Embellishing, stick to the facts and events as they happened.
What is the difference between a Witness Statement and my Grounds of Claim?
Your Grounds of Claim and your Witness Statement should be set out in a very similar way, being the same headings and the information presented in short, numbered paragraphs.
Within your Grounds of Claim, you should have identified what claims you are bringing and given a brief overview of the facts and events that have resulted in you bringing a claim. It should be written in the third person, referring to the Claimant (the person bringing the claim) and the Respondent (the person defending the claim).
Your Witness Statement should support your Grounds of Claim and is an opportunity to build on the background and add more relevant information and details. It should be drafted in the first person.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help
If you are in need of assistance with your employment dispute, or have commenced a claim against your employer and would like some guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01522 440512 for a free initial telephone consultation. Alternatively, if you would like more information about how we can help with your employment dispute, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/employment-tribunal-claims/
Managing Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor
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