The drafting of your witness statement is the most crucial part of proceedings. A well drafted witness statement which presents your case well, will very often lead to settlement. The witness statement is a factual account of the dispute and should contain little or no opinion or commentary on the claim.
It is likely that the witness statement will be a process over a matter of weeks. Aspects of the claim will be discussed with you and reviewed until eventually the final proof of evidence which you are happy with and which represents all that you wish to say and put before the Court in it clearest terms is complete.
It is vital that you are happy with the witness statement. It is your statement so therefore you must read it very carefully and ensure that the factual details are entirely correct, the chronology of events is correct and all matters that you wish to raise are included.
You then need to sign the statement. The witness statement has at the end of the document a statement of truth. The statement of truth confirms that the party making the statement believes that the facts stated in the statement are true. If you were to sign a statement of truth and document which contained a false statement without an honest belief in the truth of the statement you would be in contempt of court, then contempt of court proceedings may be brought against you.
The parties will agree prior to the trial a date for mutual exchange of witness evidence. This is where both parties send to the other side the witness statements that they intend to rely on in support of the claim.
If matters do not settle then your witness statement will form the basis of your evidence given at trial. The other party will then cross examine you on your witness evidence, your own counsel will then have the opportunity to reexamine you on matters, then this maybe an opportunity for you to explain answers given in cross examination.