Situation I cannot talk because using my name would disclose name of the other parties.

Asking a friend to help me out - we've been working together for a year and spent a lot of time hanging out with kids on weekends.

He is travelling and cannot attend the court date.

From the existing Court order:

If a witness or party is unable to read the statement in the form produced to the court, the statement must include a certificate that it has been been read or interpreted to the witness by a suitably qualified person.

This seem to apply to Civil Law: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part22/pd_part22

Who may sign the statement of truth 3.1 In a statement of case, a response or an application notice, the statement of truth must be signed by:

(1) the party or his litigation friend, or

(2) the legal representative of the party or litigation friend.

I don't have legal representative (litigant in person), I have no idea what litigation friend is.

I believe law should be simple and approachable, without extortionate fees.

Personally I do not like ambiguous phrases as "suitably qualified person" - what is the standard operating procedure here?

I was thinking about asking my friend to send email to the court, myself, and solicitors of the respondent. Will that fly and be acknowledged, taken into account?

  • To be clear, do you want your friend to send to the court a statement and by some means assure the court that it was in fact he who wrote the statement?
    – Lag
    Aug 15, 2018 at 12:08
  • @Lag correct. Friend. Witness. Stating some facts that could help. He cannot attend. "suitably qualified person" - would be nice to know exactly what does it mean, precisely... Aug 15, 2018 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking:

If it is a trial the witness must give evidence in person or by videolink or some other means the court permits; at any other hearing the witness must provide a witness statement or if he wishes he may provide an affidavit.

At trial, evidence provided by a person who will not attend will end up as hearsay evidence.


The required formats of the witness statement and affidavit are provided here in Practice Direction 32 Evidence: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part32/pd_part32

A witness statement must be signed by the witness while an affidavit must be "sworn". That means an independent, qualified person certifies that the person signed and swore on oath that he believes the document to be true.

Given the first passage you quoted I think you may have been confused. I think the passage is about this, not witness statements generally:

If the witness cannot read the witness statement or affidavit (e.g. he is blind or illiterate) then a "suitably qualified person" is required to certify the document was read to the witness, that the witness appeared to understand and approved the content as accurate, that the declaration or statement of truth was read to the witness, that the witness appeared to understand the declaration and the consequences of making a false declaration and that the witness signed or made his mark in the presence of the "authorised" or suitably qualified person. This person must be able to administer oaths and take affidavits, e.g. a solicitor or commissioner for oaths. He need not be independent. https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part22/pd_part22#3A.1

If the witness can read then it is unnecessary to find a suitably qualified person.

The second passage you quote is about "statements of truth". These are declarations of the form "I believe that the facts stated in this [document] are true". The documents listed here in Practice Direction 22 Statements of Truth https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part22/pd_part22#1.1 must have a statement of truth. E.g. "I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true" signed by the witness. See 3.2 here https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part22/pd_part22#3.1

  • This is a clear summary of the rules. OPs second passage actually refers to "a statement of case, a response or an application notice"; it makes sense that these have to be signed by the litigant or his lawyer. Witness statements only have to be verified by the witness, and if cross-examination is impossible a statement will be treated on its merits. Sep 14, 2018 at 20:07

It looks like the reference to a litigation friend is to a McKenzie Friend, which is basically someone who is present in a courtroom with a litigant for purposes of moral support, taking notes, and organizing papers, but not to act on behalf of a party or and not to provide litigation advice.

Alternately, it may be referring to a next friend who is someone who enters an appearance on behalf of an individual with no legal guardian, who for some reason related to their circumstances (for example, being held incommunicado in detention) has no way to initiate or participate in court proceedings personally.

The linked definition in the OP, however, appears to be to a position which would be described in U.S. jurisprudence as a "guardian-ad-litem" (guardian in a legal matter).

A "suitably qualified person" in this context means someone who is capable of communicating information to a person in a manner that the person understands.

For example, someone who speaks that person's language who can act as an interpreter, or someone who can convert what is said in court into a form that the person can understand (e.g. at a recent court hearing in which I participated, there was a woman with a laptop computer who contemporaneously typed what was being said in court for the benefit of another person who was severely hearing impaired, but only as an adult, and thus she didn't know sign language).

More deeply, it isn't clear that the process referenced is really meant to accommodate an unavailable witness or simply to accommodate someone with a disability who can attend a proceeding. This would not be permissible in a U.S. proceeding, but U.K. law has largely abolished that hearsay rule that is still alive and well in the U.S. that would bar the use of a statement like that one. The bottom line answer doesn't follow obviously from clarifying the terminology used.

Situation I cannot talk because using my name would disclose name of the other parties.

This doesn't make a lot of sense.

First of all, to be clear, it doesn't sound like you "cannot talk", it sounds like you have reasons that make you not want to be present in court. But, the language you are referring to in the court order seems to apply to people who literally "cannot talk" as in, they are mute or are otherwise truly not capable of speaking in the English language.

Also, why would the court not need to know and not be allowed to know the name of the other parties? This seems odd.

  • I've changed my "internet name" to Freeman because if I was to use my legal name, that would disclose name of other parties. Speaking of things that normal people cannot understand - Witness Statament vs Position Statement - one requires statement of truth, another one is "let's throw some crap, let's see what sticks" - Family Law does not keep Criminal Law standards of evidence, a lot of sh!t actually sticks... Aug 13, 2018 at 23:55
  • 2
    @MichaelFreeman: Might want to take a look at your profile... Aug 14, 2018 at 3:47
  • Past does not equal the future. Previous questions might or might not be related. Each question might or might not be looked at independently. Aug 14, 2018 at 10:31

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