How to write a defence statement

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In UK law, a defence statement is mandatory if you are pleading guilty in a crown court. It is not mandatory in a magistrates’ court, but it will typically assist your defence to have a pre-prepared statement. You will be given details of the case against you prior to being required to submit a written defence.

Your solicitor may have a copy of a blank Defence Statement for you to complete, if not you can download a copy from the Department of Justice website. Your solicitor will assist you in filling out the statement.

Review the Particulars of Claim form, preferably with your solicitor. This form outlines the case against you. It is your legal right to be made aware of any claims against you before you are called to defend yourself, either in court or with a pre-written statement.

Indicate your plea. If you are pleading guilty, you do not need to complete a defence statement. If you are pleading not guilty, indicate this by signing in Part 1 of the form, which reads “I confirm that I intend to plead not guilty to [all the charges] [the following charges] against me:”

Set out the nature of your defence. This is an overview of your defence, for example self defence may characterise your defence. You may be denying your presence at the scene of an alleged crime or denying that you committed a certain offence.. When you make a denial, it is then down to the claimant to prove otherwise.

List the facts upon you disagree with the prosecution. If you dispute certain facts in the claim against you, such as dates, places or claimed, list these.

Indicate any point of law that you contest in relation to the prosecution. Your solicitor will advise whether any points in the claim are subject to a legal challenge. For example, certain pieces of evidence may not be admissible.

List the name and address of any alibis who can support your defence. Alibis can greatly assist your defence. An alibi may be called to prove that you were not at, or it is unlikely that you were at, the place alleged in the claim. An alibi may or not be a person known to you. For example, a shop employee that served you at or around the time of the alleged defence could be an alibi.

Sign and date the statement or have your solicitor do this on your behalf.