The case of Curran v Collins  EWCA Civ 404 is a useful reminder to practitioners that a very high burden is placed on appellants seeking to challenge a decision on the issue of witness credibility. As Lady Justice Arden said in the judgment (para. 30) "...any appellant who challenges the judge's finding on credibility has a particularly difficult task."
The facts of the case were that the claimant, Ms Curran, was claiming a share in various properties owned by the defendant, Mr Collins. The claimant was unsuccessful at trial and part of her appeal rested on the findings made by the trial judge in relation to witness credibility.
A recent post on the on the Lexis Nexis Dispute Resolution Blog discusses the findings in the case of Excelerate Technology Ltd -v- Cumberbatch  EWHC B1 Mercantile on how to assess to the credibility of witnesses.
HH Simon Brown QC in the Cumberbatch case set out the factors that judges use to assess the credibility of witnesses in factual disputes and reviewed the guidance given to judges in relation to assessing credibility.
Researchers from the law and psychology departments of the Universities of Leeds and Liverpool, respectively, have conducted an empirical study looking at the impact of witness familiarisation on those who give evidence in court.
It is trite to say that the content of witness statements is a crucial aspect of witness credibility. In the recent case of JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Sergi Viktorovich Pugachev  EWHC 4336 (Ch) (“the JSC case”) Mr Justice Mann made some important observations about the identifying of sources in a witness statement. CPR 32 PD.18 deals with witness statements and provides that the text should indicate sections of its contents that are made only from information and belief as opposed to matters which are within the witness’s own knowledge, and should state the sources of any matters of information and belief. If the source is a person, they should be named – see Consolidated Contractors International Co SAL v Masri  Bus LR D108 in which Lord Justice Aikens held at paragraph 32 that the aim of this provision is to ensure that a person against whom serious allegations are being made can identify the source of any information or belief that is not within the witness’s own knowledge so, that these matters can be investigated.