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Bank of Credit and Commerce International v Rahim, Chancery Division, 11 October 2005

14 December 2006
The issues

Witness Evidence – Whether Witness Should Give Evidence By Video

The facts

The applicant who was the liquidator applied for an Order that a witness should give evidence by video link from Pakistan. The liquidator was the liquidator of BCCI and the witness, the Chief Executive of BCCI. The witness was in poor health and required regular medical check ups and was in fear of being arrested if he entered the United Kingdom. The application was opposed on the basis that in exceptional circumstances a witness should attend Court to give evidence so that his demeanour could be assessed.

The decision

1. The Defendant’s argument was inconsistent with the decision of the House of Lords in Polanski v Conde Nast Publications Limited. That decision made it clear that giving evidence by video link was an entirely satisfactory method of giving evidence if there was a proper reason for departing from the normal rule that witnesses gave evidence in person.
2. A fugitive from justice was nonetheless entitled to invoke the assistance of the Court and its procedures to protect his civil rights and it would be inconsistent if a fugitive was entitled to bring his proceedings in the UK but could not take advantage of a procedural facility flowing from a modern technological development which had become readily available to all litigants.
3. The process of having witnesses give evidence via video link was well recognised in the Courts and was little different from seeing a witness in the Court itself.

Application granted.

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