Hearsay Rule in Civil Proceedings
The rule against hearsay in civil proceedings excludes the admission of second-hand evidence, subject to certain exceptions. In other words, evidence is described as hearsay where a witness proposes to testify to a particular fact on the basis of what he has been told by another. Over time, the exceptions to the hearsay rule had become more complex and unclear, and there had been considerable criticism of the rule on the basis that the question of hearsay should go to the weight attached to the evidence, rather than to its admissibility.
The report recommends the abolition of hearsay rule in civil proceedings, so that all hearsay evidence should be admissible in civil proceedings. There should be no requirement for parties to the proceedings to give notice of their intention to introduce hearsay evidence, but there should be a power to call and cross-examine a witness whose evidence has been tendered as hearsay by another party. Statutory guidelines should be set out to assist the court in assessing the weight to be attached to such evidence.
The 1995 report resulted in the Evidence (Amendment) Ordinance in 1999.
|Report (PDF) (MS Word)|