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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

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Charlotte Greenwood, an attorney representing a client in a civil lawsuit concerning a breach of contract in Oxford, has been approached by Mr. Thomas Elliott, a key witness in the case. Mr. Elliott, who has insights favorable to Charlotte's client, has expressed a desire to be compensated for his time and expenses due to his current unemployment. Mr. Elliott has indicated a concern that without compensation, he would be financially strained to participate. Charlotte needs to decide how to address his request ethically and legally.

Which of the following best describes how Charlotte should proceed?

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The correct answer is D. Under the Civil Procedure Rules, specifically Rule 34.2, a witness summoned to court must be offered or paid a sum reasonably sufficient to cover their expenses in travelling to and from the court and a sum by way of compensation for loss of time. This ensures that witnesses are not financially disadvantaged by participating in legal proceedings. Furthermore, the SRA Code of Conduct, section 2.3, mandates that lawyers should not provide or offer any benefit to witnesses dependent upon the nature of their evidence or the outcome of the case, thus ensuring that the witness's testimony remains unbiased and credible.

Key Learning Points:

  • Witness Compensation: Understanding the legal basis for compensating witnesses for their time and expenses ensures ethical compliance and fairness in legal proceedings.

  • Civil Procedure Rules: Familiarity with these rules is crucial for legal practitioners to manage court proceedings effectively and ethically.

  • SRA Code of Conduct: Awareness of the regulations that govern solicitor conduct helps maintain the integrity of the legal process and protects the interests of all parties involved.

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