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Legal Minds

23 November 2016 / by / in

“You can’t handle the truth”

Are we living in a post truth society? The foundations were laid by Tony Blair and Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction“ and Nick Clegg’s “no tuition fees”. The current masters of the dark art are Vladimir Putin, “There are no Russian troops in Ukraine” and Donald Trump who declared Barak Obama “the founder” of Islamic state. Machiavelli understood this and stated, “those princes who do great things have considered keeping their word of little account, and have known how to beguile men’s minds by shrewdness and cunning”. In civil litigation one would expect great emphasis should be put on the truth. The Civil Procedure Rules require statements of truth on many documents for two reasons. First to ensure that the statement is made with an honest belief as to the accuracy of the content of the statement and second that it may be relied on in evidence. However in the post truth age the UK Supreme Court appears to now recognise that truth is not sacrosanct. In the Versloot Dredging BV case collateral lies were held not to be fatal to the claimant’s case [2016] UKSC 45 and in Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42 involvement in illegality was held not to be a bar to a claim.

John Bechelet

John specialises in commercial and civil fraud litigation. Admitted as a solicitor in 1983, John worked in private practice and in-house for a leading life assurance company before establishing Bivonas with Antony Brown in 1997. John has extensive experience in a wide range of courts and tribunals including the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Divisional Court. He has been involved in a number of important reported cases.

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