What makes a witness 'independent'? - LHM
A few days ago I had a 'coming together' of door mirrors whilst driving down a narrow country road. I'd blame the other driver as he was nowhere near the edge of his side of the road, but there's not much you can really do in this situation.

Anyway, this got me thinking regarding the status of a passenger as a witness in traffic accidents (those somewhat more serious than mirror clashes!).

Is your spouse/mate/relative regarded as an 'independent' witness to an accident in which you are involved - or would it always be assumed they'd be 'taking your side'?
What makes a witness 'independent'? - turbo11
I would say they would have to be someone you do not know.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - apm
A witness is a witness (I feel that independent is a misnoma). Their relationship to the party to proceedings (plaintiff/ defendant) will go to their credibility.


Dr Alex Mears
MG BGT 1971
If you are in a hole stop digging...unless
you are a miner.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - The Lawman
Spot on.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Nsar

Can a witness be produced after a claim has begun?

Someone is pursuing me for a claim. Their behaviour is dodgy - they shouted abuse, drove off without swapping details and first thing we heard was letter from their insurers making a claim. At no point have they mentioned any witnesses. I told their insurers to sue me and they went away about 6 months ago. Now I've got a letter from a firm of solicitors who I assume have taken this as a no-win no fee case and make no mention of any witnesses. I have written to them saying I contest their verison of events and will couter-claim Can they suddenly produce a witness now even though the first correspondence goes back to October 04? To my knowledge there were no witnesses.

Thanks for any advice
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Falkirk Bairn
Have you got legal cover with your motor policy?

If you have take the letter to a solicitor and get him to send a reply denying any wrong doing on your part and with your version of what happened.

You should intimate that any further letters concerning wrongdoing on your part will be taken malicious and this harassment would be pursued as such with a counter claim.

This should make them go away as "no win no fee operators" normally only go for low hanging fruit - they will not get involved with anything that could be protracted - they will go on to the easier cases and get their fees with no hassle.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Nsar
Thanks FB - you'd think with a wife who is a recorder it would be simple!
What makes a witness 'independent'? - bikemade3
Motor legal cover.

Never thought about it untill i needed to, had a car accident 1st October last year and within 2 days i had a letter from soliciters informing me what they we going to do.As it was i was not at fault and third parties insurance co settled at 100% their liability. Car was repaired within 7 days, courtesy car provided FOC, within 6 weeks i recieved my excess back which i had to pay the repairers, by christmas i had recieved repayment for the purchase of 2 new child seats and by mid March had received compensation for personnel injury.I doubt that this would have been so effiicent if it was me that was writting the letters.
Best £10 i have ever spent.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - The Lawman
in theory a witness can be produced at any stage, even after a trial has begun!

In practice, if you want to rely on the evidence of a witness, then you are required to prepared a written signed statement for that witness, and to disclose this statement well in advance of the trial.

A a matter of good practice, if I was threatening to sue someone, and i had a good witness to back up my case,I would be upfront about it, as it is in everyones interest to get a settlement if possible.

If he produces a witness when he has not initially notified his insurers that there is a witness, then I agree it looks dodgy. I echo those who have told you to check the availability of free legal help.

as to the solicitor who has taken it on for a no win no fee case, he is supposed to confirm to you in writing that he has done this. If there are no third party witnesses, he may be reluctant to commit his time and money in pursuing the case, so you are right to take a bullish attitude at the outset.
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Stuartli
>>or would it always be assumed they'd be 'taking your side'?>>

In most circumstances a spouse cannot testify against a husband/wife.

An independent witness is someone unknown to either the plaintiff or defendent.

Re the spouse angle, see:


in the section Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c.33)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Peter D
He left the scene of an accident without leaving any details, name, address, phone number, insurance company what ever. He actually broke the law at that point. Did he trace you via your car registration or what. Regards Peter
What makes a witness 'independent'? - David Horn
Yup, you can produce a witness at any point, the solicitor persuing my claim has told me that he only intends to pass on details of the witness we have if things go to court, and at that point, he'll do it during the hearing. He's pretty convinced it won't get that far though.

His reasoning is that he doesn't want the opposing solicitors to have a chance to prepare a defence against the witness statement. (or something along those lines.)
What makes a witness 'independent'? - Nsar
Yes Peter, the first we heard was from their insurers.

The solicitors have sent a copy of the invoice of about £450 for respraying a bumper and replacing an indicator lens. This is doubly suspicious as their car is only worth a few hundred (N reg Lantra) and although I haven't measured a Lantra's dimensions yet, the damage to our car didn't even break the surface of the paint and is below the bumper level, about shin height whereas a Lantra's indicators are above the wheel arch!
What makes a witness 'independent'? - DavidHM
Interesting strategy though - the Civil Procedure Rules are supposed to make litigation less overtly confrontational and there could be costs issues arising when you suddenly drop a witness in at the last minute when, had the other side known about the witness, they would have settled months ago.

It shouldn't affect you as the Claimant but it could mean a lot of unpaid work for the Solicitor.

Ask Honest John

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