Statement of Truth | Solicitors Near Me For UK
A statement of truth is included in many legal documents certifying that the person signing the document believes the contents to be true. We take a look at the implications of making a statement of truth and when this might be necessary.
If you are involved in a legal case and you are required to complete a claim form or issue particulars of a claim, a defence, replies to a claim or further information, the document you sign should include a statement of truth. This also applies if you are required to make a witness statement.
What Is The Wording For A Statement Of Truth?
There is set wording for a statement of truth, which came into effect on 6 April 2020. The statement should be as follows:
“I believe that the facts stated in this [statement / particulars of claim / witness statement] are true. 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.”
Some documents, such as claim forms, particulars of claim and witness statements must also state that the signatory understands that failing to be honest and truthful could result in being found guilty of contempt of court.
The wording is intended to convey how seriously the court will take it should someone knowingly sign a statement they know to be false.
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Signing A Statement Of Truth
If you are asked to sign a document that includes a statement of truth, you need to go through it carefully and look at each detail to ensure that it is correct so far as you are aware. If the statement of truth is made on behalf of a company, it still needs to be signed by an individual and it is their responsibility to ensure that the statement is truthful.
If you do not wish to sign a statement of truth, it is likely to weaken your case. You will not be able to rely on the document and the other side may ask for the case to be struck out. This could mean that an extra hearing is needed, along with associated costs. This in turn exposes you to liability for the other side’s costs.
If you are not sure of some of the details included in the document, then you should work with your solicitor to amend the document so that it only covers information that you know to be true so that you are able to sign the statement of truth.
If English is not your first language, the document should be translated into your language so that you can check that it is true. The translation should be signed and dated by the translator certifying that it is accurate. The statement should include details of how it has been prepared and relayed to you. The statement of truth must be drafted in your first language so that the courts can be sure that you know exactly what you are stating by signing. Both the translation of the document and the English version should be filed with the court.
Making A False Statement
If you sign a statement of truth that you know is not true or you do not have an honest belief in its truth, then the court could find you in contempt of court. This is taken seriously and you could face a fine or up to two years in prison or both.
It could also mean that your case is impacted. For example, if it is found that there is fundamental dishonesty in a statement made in a personal injury case, your case could be dismissed and you could become liable for all of the costs, including those incurred by the other side.
Checklist Before Signing A Legal Document With A Statement Of Truth
It is always important to take care when signing legal documents, but if they have a statement of truth attached it is essential to check everything meticulously. Your solicitor will be able to help you if you have any questions as to the meaning of what you are signing.
Using an expert means that the document will be carefully drafted and you can have confidence that the information you have provided has been accurately set out.
Before you sign each document, you should make sure you have done the following:
- Read the document from start to finish;
- Even if the document has been drafted by an expert, you must always double check it to make sure it is accurate and that no misunderstandings have occurred or mistakes have been made;
- Ask yourself if everything in it is true;
- If you are not entirely sure on a particular point, the document must reflect this, for example, stating that you believe something to be true and giving the reasons why.
If your solicitor will be signing the statement of truth on your behalf, you must still go through the checklist and ensure that the document is truthful as you will still be responsible for the statement.
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