Last year, we wrote an opinion piece - Witness evidence in commercial trials: time to think again - for The Lawyer, in which we explained the problems that we saw with the current system of factual witness evidence in commercial disputes.
We suggested that more thought be given to alternative approaches (such as the use of shorter witness summaries with greater evidence in chief on certain issues raised in a summary) and that perhaps a “menu” of evidence options (similar to the menu of disclosure options implemented following the Jackson reforms) should be considered.
It appears that the courts are now taking note of the problems with the current system. At a recent meeting of the Commercial Court Users’ Group, the creation of a working party to consider the problems with witness evidence and the possible solutions or improvements (including a menu of options) was endorsed. The minutes of the meeting are available online.
It will be interesting to see how the working party that is to be established takes matters forward. We will let you know of developments.