Court considers the scope of the witness immunity principle

Where a non-expert witness gives evidence in court proceedings or ahead of those court proceedings, he/she has the benefit of an absolute immunity. If he/she gives false evidence, he/she may be prosecuted for perjury but no civil action for damages can be brought. Although the Supreme Court in Jones v Kaney abolished the witness immunity principle for expert witnesses, the position has not changed for witnesses of fact (something which the judge in this case confirmed). The judge also confirmed that it applies no matter what the pleaded cause of action. So , for example, the immunity will apply where the pleaded cause of action is deceit, provided that the immunity would apply if the cause of action were different.

The judge also confirmed that it made no difference if the claimant's case is that its claim is based on what the witness did not say in the judicial proceedings, rather than what he/she did say: "To say that someone has not told the truth is just another way of saying that they have given false evidence".