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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Law
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I am representing myself in a civil case as I do not have the

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I am representing myself in a civil case as I do not have the funds to hire a legal team, and I live abroad, so am not eligible for legal aid. I am completely unfamiliar with Civil Procedure Rules and legal practice. I did not serve a personal witness statement (but served others) because I thought that it would not be necessary as I am acting as my own counsel at trial. But now I realise, through further reading, that I will be completely restricted in what I can say. In other words, the only evidence I can put forward is existing documentary evidence. This is going to make my position very difficult. My question is, can I ask permission from the judge to serve my witness statement very late in the day (though still before pre-trial hearing)? The claimant served her witness statement eight weeks after the judge's ordered date, so would I earn any sympathy from the judge, given that I am a complete novice at this?
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The Court has discretion to vary case management directions if there are good reasons to do so.

I suggest you serve your statement as soon as possible with a covering letter explaining your misunderstanding.

Worst case scenario you may have to make an application for the witness statement to be admitted as evidence.

However your starting point should be to serve the witness statement on all parties and lodge with the Court.

Alex

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would you say that my lack of knowledge and understanding of the procedures is a good enough reason for the judge to use her discretion in this case?

Its not the best reason I'm afraid. The Courts will allow some leeway for lay persons conducting litigation in person. However not understanding the procedure is not a particularly attractive explanation. But serving the statement albeit late and explaining the delay in service by the defendant will enable the Court to exercise its discretion under the CPR. If the statement has been served well in advance of a substantive hearing and the other side has been give plenty of notice - that will go in your favour. Also if the statement deals with issues which have already been addressed (so no new issues) then that will also help. The relevant CPR rules are: CPR 1.1(2) The Court has a duty to deal with cases justly CPR 3.1(2)(a) The Court has power to extend or shorten time for compliance (even if an application is made after the time for compliance has passed) Alex

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