Restrictions to Evidence


Civil Cases

There are limited restrictions on the presentation of 'hearsay' evidence in civil cases.

Hearsay is "a statement made, otherwise than by a person while giving oral evidence in proceedings, which is tendered as evidence of the matters stated" (Civil Procedure Rules, Rule 33.1(a)).

A party can rely on a witness statement of fact at trial, even where a witness is not subsequently called to give oral evidence.  The party relying on the statement must inform the opposing parties, who may apply to the court for permission to call the witness for cross-examination.

Where a party fails to call a witness to give oral evidence, the court is likely to attach less weight to his statement.


Criminal Cases

The Criminal Procedure Rules set out detailed rules on the types of evidence that can be presented in criminal trials and matters of evidence handling.

 Reference should be made to the following Parts in particular:

         Part 16: written witness statements

         Part 17: witness summonses, warrants and orders

         Part 18: measures to assist a witness or defendant to give evidence

         Part 19: expert evidence

         Part 20: hearsay evidence

         Part 21: evidence of bad character

         Part 22: evidence of a complainant's previous sexual behaviour

         Part 23: restriction on cross-examination by a defendant