Writing a Proof of Evidence



If you are a party to court or tribunal proceedings you need to write down everything you can remember. This is called a Proof of Evidence. 


When writing your Proof of Evidence:-


1. Write your Proof of Evidence as a Word document on your computer or other device. At the top of the page put 

PROOF OF EVIDENCE OF [Your Name]

For example, if your name is John Smith, write PROOF OF EVIDENCE OF JOHN SMITH. 

Note: You do not need to put the name of any court/tribunal nor any case number on your Proof of Evidence. This is because your Proof of Evidence itself it not submitted to the court/tribunal. What will happen, in due course, is that your barrister will draft a Witness Statement from your Proof of Evidence and it is that Witness Statement, which you will sign after double-checking that it is correct, which will be used in court/tribunal. The Witness Statement will be in the format required by the particular court/tribunal rules and will contain the court/tribunal name and case number (which, by that stage, will be known). The reason for this two-stage procedure (Proof of Evidence, then Witness Statement) is that, to save court/tribunal time, the Witness Statement contains only those things which are relevant to the matters which remain in dispute between the parties.


2. Underneath the heading write in a series of numbered paragraphs. 

3. In the first paragraph, state:
  • Your full name 
  • full address including Postcode
  • occupation

4. In the following paragraphs write down everything you remember which might be relevant to the case. If in doubt whether something is relevant, include it anyway (if it turns out not to be relevant the barrister drafting your Witness Statement later on can always omit it from the Witness Statement when that is drafted).


5. Use short paragraphs and number the paragraphs. You still need to write down everything you remember but break it down into relatively short paragraphs.     


6. Your Proof of Evidence contains what you yourself remember seeing/hearing. You must make clear how you know things. So don't just say, for example:

"Paul Jones built the wall in April 2010."

but explain how you know - e.g. 

"I was living next door at the time and I remember seeing Paul Jones himself building the wall in April 2010."

or

"The wall went up in April 2010. I did not actually see the work being done because at that time I normally left for work at about 7.00 am and didn't get back until about 6.30 pm but, over a period of a week or so, I noticed each day that more of the wall had been built. I don't know whether Paul Jones built it with his own hands or whether he got builders to do it."

or 
"The wall went up in April 2010. I did not actually see the work being done because at that time I normally left for work at about 7.00 am and didn't get back until about 6.30 pm but, over a period of a week or so, I noticed each day that more of the wall had been built. At the time I didn't know whether Paul Jones had built it with his own hands or whether he got builders to do it, but a few months later I got speaking to him one day when we were both putting our recycling bins out and he told me that he had built it all himself."   

or 
"The wall went up in April 2010. I did not actually see the work being done because at that time I normally left for work at about 7.00 am and didn't get back until about 6.30 pm but, over a period of a week or so, I noticed each day that more of the wall had been built. At the time I didn't know whether Paul Jones had built it with his own hands or whether he got builders to do it, but now that this current dispute has arisen I have asked Paul Jones and he has told me that he built the wall himself."   

or
"I moved into the area in June 2016 so I have no personal knowledge of events before then but I have recently obtained a Street View image from Google dated 2013 (Exhibit JJS2) and from this I can see that there was a wall in position at that time, and Paul Jones has given me a copy of an invoice from builders for building the wall, dated April 28, 2010 (Exhibit JJS3)."  


7. You can give your overall impression of a state of affairs - e.g. "Peter Jones appeared to be drunk" - but if you can remember specific details which gave you that impression - e.g. "He had difficulty keeping his balance when walking and his speech was slurred" that should be included.


8. Sometimes your impression of a state of affairs may be the result of a number of incidents over a period of time. For example you might have gained the impression that someone owned, or at least occupied, a piece of land because, over the years (a) you saw them cultivating the land, (b) you saw them locking a gate opening onto the land, (c) you asked them if they would mind if you walked your dog on their land and they said Yes, or they said No, but they didn't say it was nothing to do with them or that you would have to ask someone else. If so then you should give all this information on which your impression was based. If all you can remember is a general impression then make this clear - e.g. "my memory is that he worked very hard in his job but it is so long ago that I cannot remember what specifically gave me that impression".


9. Write what you remember in chronological order so far as you can remember. The sequence of events can be important.


10. Give dates for everything as best you can remember. You may know the exact date of something if it happened to coincide with a memorable event such as your birthday, or you may have documents which help you remember – for example in the case of a meeting you might have a dated note of what was discussed at the meeting, or you may have a letter or email in which the date of the meeting was arranged, or a letter or email written soon after as a consequence of the meeting. Or you may be able to remember only approximately - e.g. “June 2011”, “just before Christmas 2011” “in the summer of 2008” “in around 2007 or 2008” etc.
 

11. Give names if you know them. If you don’t know a name, say so. So don’t just write “I was told that…” say “Peter Jones told me that…” or, if you cannot remember who told you something, make that clear – “Someone – I cannot now remember who – told me that…” “Someone at the office – I cannot now remember who – told me that…” Someone at the office – I think it was Peter Jones but it could have been someone else - told me that…” etc.


12. Your Proof of Evidence should contain only what you yourself remember. You cannot have a joint Proof of Evidence with someone else. If you are bringing or defending a case with someone else they should provide their own separate Proof of Evidence containing what they remember and only what they remember.


13. You should make a PDF copy of every relevant photograph you have taken and give it a filename with your initials and a number – e.g. if you are John James Smith, give the first photo a filename of JJS01, JJS02 for the second etc. Then say in your Proof of Evidence that you took the photo and when, and what it is a photo of - e.g. "I refer to a photo marked Exhibit JJS01 which took of the garden on 15/9/2016". If there is a specific point you want to make about what the photo shows, make the point, but you should always say when you took every relevant photo even if you feel that the photo speaks for itself so that no further comment needs to be made about that particular photo. If you need to exhibit a marked copy of a photo to point something out, always make a PDF copy and mark up the copy, keeping the original safe and separate. When you mark up a copy of a photo, give the marked copy one PDF name – e.g. JJS04 and provide an unmarked PDF copy as well – e.g. JJS03. If you didn't actually press the camera button but you still took the photo in the sense that you asked someone else to take it, and were present when they took it, make that clear. 


14. If you have relevant photos which you didn't take and the person who took them is not going to be a witness you should say what you know about the photo - e.g. "When my mother died in 2005 I inherited a number of photos one of which is Exhibit JJS05. I recognise the girl in the picture as my sister Lucy, born in 1960, and she looks about 10 years old in the photo so I know that this photo, which shows the garden wall at 22 Acacia Avenue, was taken about 1970.


15. If you have a relevant video or audio recording, say when and where you took/recorded it and what it shows/records.


16. You should make PDF copies of other documents that you refer to, naming them with Exhibit numbers e.g. JJS06, JJS07, JJS08 etc. A series of correspondence (letter and/or emails and/or text messages) can be in a single exhibit in chronological order. 
      

17. When you have typed your Proof of Evidence as a Word document, print it out and check it carefully and sign and date it at the bottom. It is useful if you can also provide the Word document so that when the Witness Statement needs to be drafted it does not need to be completely retyped. 
           

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This information page is designed to be used only by clients of John Antell who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services,


This page was lasted updated in Julu 2017 Disclaimer