Christopher Deacon, Senior Associate in Stewarts’ International Injury department, spoke at the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) in Prague on 23 March 2018. He joined a panel of lawyers from across Europe to talk about witness evidence in cross-border personal injury cases.
The talk focused on EU Regulation 1206/2001, also known as the Taking of Evidence Regulation. This provides an effective mechanism for a party pursuing or defending a claim in one member state to secure evidence from a witness based in another member state.
Chris provided an insight into the importance of witness evidence in personal injury claims in England and Wales. He also spoke about the challenges of getting evidence from witnesses when an accident occurs abroad, commenting:
“Very often the evidence of witnesses based overseas will be crucial to the success of our client’s case. In Stewarts’ International Injury department we have had great success in tracking down and speaking to witnesses based overseas, drawing on our international alliances where necessary.”
During the panel session, Chris spoke about how English law and procedure provides a number of options for obtaining witness statements and documents if a witness who does not live in England is unwilling to cooperate. This includes Letters of Request under the EU Regulation, the Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975 and the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.
He concluded by providing some top tips on how to get the best out of witnesses, including the mantra not to delay and to always think: who, what, where, when, why and how? Chris also drew on the research of psychologists into how reliable our memories are and how the approach taken by lawyers in preparing statements can influence a witness’ recollection of events.
Chris was joined on the panel by other specialists in international injury law from Hungary, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our International Injury page.