Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Whether you are the plaintiff, the defendant, or another witness in a court case, you will probably have to write a statement for the court.
Statements from key parties and witnesses in court cases are often made under oath. Such statements constitute crucial pieces of evidence and help to determine the overall outcome of the case.
The smaller details of writing a statement for court will vary depending on the nature of the case, which court the hearing is taking place in, and your role within the case.
However, there are some fairly universal rules and guidelines which apply to the writing of most court statements. We will be walking you through the process of writing a statement for court today.
The Purpose Of A Court Statement
The purpose of a court statement, in general, is to present an overview of one party’s truthful experience of the events that led to the court case.
At its core, a court statement, be it from an eyewitness, the plaintiff, or the defendant in the case is a piece of legal evidence.
You may be asked to give either a formal or informal statement in court. A formal statement is often interchangeably referred to as an Affidavit.
An Affidavit is a statement that is presented before the court after having been signed in the presence of a notary or another qualified legal witness.
A notarized (sworn) statement or Affidavit carries more weight in terms of evidence than an informal statement.
How To Write A Statement For Court
1. Establish Your Timeline
Before you start writing your statement, make sure that you have a clear timeline of events established in your mind – and, if possible, through documentation.
The last thing you want is to start writing your statement from a place of confusion when it comes to the details, so make sure that you have all of the events as clear as possible in your mind.
This way, you will be able to recount them clearly in the order in which they occurred.
2. Formulate A Title
Your statement will need a title. This can be as simple as ‘Statement/Affidavit of [ ]’ followed by the case caption.
The case caption contains the basic information surrounding the case, including the case number, the names of involved parties, the state and county, and the name of the courthouse.
3. State Who You Are
This part is called a statement of identity. Essentially, before you get into the details of the events at hand, you need to let the court know who you are, including your relationship with any parties involved in the case.
This should be concise, including only facts that are important to your identity and the case. For example: ‘My name is [ ]. I am [ ] years old. I live at [ ] and work as a [ ]. I am the [ ] of Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms [ ].’
4. Be Honest And Specific
Many people worry about the process of writing down their version of events for a court statement, but this part is actually very simple (although it may take a long time depending on the complexity of the events you are recounting).
In essence, all you have to do is write down, honestly, what you remember about the event, in clear and concise language, while being as specific as possible.
If you can’t remember a specific detail or moment from the event, it is much better to be honest and say that you don’t remember than to write down something you’re unsure about.
Try to include dates and times wherever possible and describe events in as much detail as you can recall, where relevant.
5. Use Your Own Words
Of course, you want your court statement to read clearly and be appropriate for reading in a formal setting. For this reason, your statement may sound slightly more formal than you would in your day-to-day life.
However, it’s very important that you write your statement in your own words. Your statement should not sound as though anyone (especially not your lawyer) has written it for you or put words in your mouth.
If the court suspects that your statement does not accurately reflect your own honest perception of events, this will reflect badly on you during proceedings. So, write concisely, clearly, and as yourself.
6. Don’t Speculate
If you are writing a statement as a witness, your statement should only include facts of the case. You may be asked to provide evidence of these facts if possible.
You might not be able to provide supporting evidence for every fact in your statement, but you can’t include any speculation of what might have happened or what you imagine happened.
Avoid statements such as ‘I think’ or ‘might have’. These will make your testimony less convincing.
Being honest and admitting to not recalling or being unsure of specific details is preferable to speculating, although you should try your best to remember as much as possible to avoid your statement being classed as unreliable.
Before you go through the last legal formalities of completing your statement or Affidavit, you should briefly summarize the events and facts you have recalled in the statement.
You don’t need to go into everything in detail all over again – just provide a short statement to reiterate the main points you have made in your testimony.
This is similar to the process of writing a conclusion in an essay in school, although again, it should only consist of facts.
If you have been asked to write a formal Affidavit or sworn statement for court, you will need to have it notarized before it can be read in court.
The process of notarization involves each page of the Affidavit document as well as any amends to the document being signed by a licensed notary.
You will also need to sign all of the above yourself, but you must not do so until the statement has been approved by a notary.
Being asked to write a statement, especially a sworn statement, for court can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, the process is actually quite simple with a little direction.
Writing a statement for court involves presenting your honest version of events in your own words. The statement should consist only of facts as far as possible, with no speculation or guesswork.
A statement of your identity should be given at the start of your statement, and it should conclude with a brief summary of your testimony.
If you have been asked to give a sworn statement or Affidavit, you will also need to write a title that includes the court caption and have the completed Affidavit notarized before signing it in the presence of a licensed witness.