Whether a witness statement could be passed to a third party
CPR r32.12 provides that a witness statement can used only for the purpose of the proceedings in which it is served, unless the witness consents, the court gives permission, or it has been put in evidence at a hearing held in public. One of the issues in this case was whether witness statements served by both parties could be passed by the defendants to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Warby J held that CPR r32.12 does not require a party to obtain the court’s permission where it seeks to pass its own witness statements to third parties (subject to any restriction imposed by the court). In any event, in such a situation, the party can normally obtains the witness’s consent to disclosure of the statements. As for the claimant’s witness statements, it was a “frail and insubstantial basis” to seek disclosure to the CPS just because the CPS had shown an interest in seeing those statements. It had not even been argued that the documents were necessary for the CPS’s investigation. Accordingly, these could not be given to the CPS before trial.