Taking and Making a Statement: An exploratory study analysing through the lens of research the production of witness statements by lawyers and litigants in person

Taking and Making a Statement: An exploratory study analysing through the lens of research the production of witness statements by lawyers and litigants in person

About the project            About the researchers             News and Publications            Contact

About the project

A witness statement prepared for an Employment Tribunal (ET) forms part of the evidential basis for a claim or defence. To support good quality decision-making and efficient case management, witness statements should only include relevant, accurate facts. and should comply with legal rules and directions.

This research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation will consider the preparation of witness statements by lawyers and litigants in person in the Employment Tribunal. The research led by Dr Penny Cooper (ICPR) will be conducted with Dr Michelle Mattison (University of Chester). Together they will review the rules and guidance on witness statements, psychological research on best practice for interviewing witnesses and conduct up to seventy-five interviews including with litigants in person and legal practitioners.

The final research report is likely to share examples of good practice, highlight areas for improvement and make recommendations for achieving the best quality witness statements. Project recommendations addressing Employment Tribunal procedures and support mechanisms for litigants in person are also likely to be of significance to civil cases more generally.

  • The researchers are seeking input from litigants in person who have experience of preparing  and producing a witness statement/s for the Employment Tribunal. Interviews are likely to last about 45 minutes to an hour. Litigants in person will be offered a £25 Amazon voucher in return for their time. 
  • The researchers are also seeking to interview lawyers who have experience of preparing witness statements for the Employment Tribunal.

If you are interested in being interviewed for this project please email penny.cooper@bbk.ac.uk and we will supply further information about the project.

About the researchers

Principal Investigator

Penny Cooper, BSc (Hons), Barrister, PhD

Penny is a barrister and senior academic. She was called to the Bar in 1990, and has been a professor of law since 2009. Penny devised the English model of the witness intermediary, the ground rules hearing (setting the parameters for the fair treatment of vulnerable witnesses). She has led the widely praised pro bono resource The Advocate’s Gateway since inception. She is the principal investigator for a Nuffield Foundation/ICPR research project which looks at the participation of witnesses in courts and tribunals and is a co-investigator on a project funded by the AHRC looking at the participation of the vulnerable adults in the Court of Protection. She also practises law from 39 Essex Chambers, London.


Michelle Mattison, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, FHEA, CPsychol, AFBPsS, CSci.

Michelle is an associate professor of Forensic Psychology, a Ministry of Justice Registered Intermediary for vulnerable witnesses, and a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist with the British Psychological Society. Her research focuses upon applied cognitive and developmental psychology within forensic settings; namely, eyewitness memory, evidence gathering and communication. As a Registered Intermediary, Michelle works in the criminal justice system where she facilitates communication between vulnerable witnesses, police officers, solicitors, barristers and judges. She recently completed a research project on the independence and impartiality of expert witnesses (Cooper & Mattison, 2018). 

News and Publications

Cooper, P. (2019), 'Creating witness statements for employment tribunals', ela Briefing, Vol 26, No 8, 16. 



Institute for Criminal Policy Research
School of Law
Birkbeck College
42 Store Street
London WC1E 7DB