A legal statement of fact is a document prepared for use in a variety of legal cases that involve all of the judicial principles. The statement defines a situation and sets down factual information in an easy to read manner that will compel the reader to understand the writer’s point of view. Legal statements are prepared by both the prosecution and the defense. The document requires a professional, non-argumentative tone and is devoid of exaggerations and fabrications.
THE DO’S OF A LEGAL STATEMENT OF FACT
1. Determine what the results of the statement are intended to gain; this is generally to gain a favorable decision for the writer.
2. Include the date of the legal statement; the topic of the statement; the date(s) of the topic to be discussed; the basic facts involved in the reasoning for the statement; the identities of all pertinent parties; their connections to the case; and if possible, the signatures of the parties.
3. When stating the writer’s facts, add information to help clarify the environment at the time of the issue. An example would be if someone was assaulted by a stranger on the street. Rather than writing: “A stranger approached me asking for money and when I said no, he hit me and I fell to the ground”; a more effective description is: “Mr. “A” was carrying an open can of beer and drinking from it when he approached me asking for money. When I said no, Mr. “A” yelled profanity at me, hit me in the face, and I fell on the ground and hit my head on the sidewalk.”
4. Add any copies of documents like a police or medical report, a newspaper article, or any other papers that can strongly support the writer’s case.
THE DON’TS OF A LEGAL STATEMENT OF FACT
1. Do not provide any facts that can be used to the advantage of the other party. It is the other party’s responsibility to establish an opposing point of view.
2. Do not refer to other parties as simply “he”, “she”, or the “defendant”. Use the person’s name, or a descriptive term such as “the young man who had been drinking” when emphasizing the defendant’s condition, “the company’s representative” when emphasizing one person against a big corporation, or “the newly licensed driver” when emphasizing the defendant’s lack of driving experience.
3. Do not lie or make up information that can be disproved by the other party.