We are taught from a young age that ‘honesty is the best policy’ and nowhere is that more true than in a legal matter!

Any person appearing as a witness in a court case must swear an oath that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Even if your matter is being decided by something other than a court (such as the Claims Assessment & Resolution Service), honesty is important.

Evidence is given at the hearing of any matter in a ‘question and answer’ style. If you lie, or give evidence which is inconsistent with something you’ve said previously or in the records, a skilled defendant barrister will capitalise on this and cross-examine you to show you out as a liar.

This is disastrous because in any case, the credibility of the injured person as a witness is crucial to the success or failure of the case. Not to mention the fact that it is unpleasant to be accused of being dishonest, and the penalties which can apply to persons who lie under oath.

You should assume in all cases that if you have something to hide, the defendant will know about it. Your own solicitor needs to know about it too, and the sooner they find out, the more likely they can deal with it to your best advantage. It’s too late for your solicitor to find out damaging information about your past when you are in the witness box giving evidence.

If your solicitor asks you something which you think might count against your claim, or is embarrassing, or which you may consider irrelevant, it’s best to answer your solicitor’s question with honesty and frankness. Your solicitor is asking you for a reason.

Your solicitor will not judge you for your ‘past discretions’. The role of your solicitor is both to provide you with advice about your case but also to present your case in the best way possible. The only way to ensure that your solicitor can give you accurate advice and represent you as best as they can, is for you to be honest with them.

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, and to arrange a free, no obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 or alternatively make an online enquiry.

Written by Brett Watts.

Brett Watts is an Associate in Tom Goudkamp’s Practice Group. Brett represents people who have been injured in a variety of accidents including motor vehicle claims and public liability claims.