Precognitions in civil cases

You may receive requests from solicitors acting for parties in a civil action, for a precognition (an interview) as a potential witness. The standard approach is to decline to be precognosced in relation to civil procedure on the basis that a factual statement can be provided. However, it is possible for precognitions to be given in civil cases; most likely when proceedings have commenced. Permission can be granted at the discretion of the appropriate Band 2 inspector. In general, such requests may be agreed when (by clarifying your evidence) there could be an advantage to HSE through preventing the waste of inspector resource. If it is less likely that you would be cited as a witness in the case, or if the work in responding to solicitors' correspondence would be reduced, then agreeing to precognition might be worthwhile. You should however never agree to precognition in advance of the receiving by the party concerned of the HSE documentation since the material will in most cases avoid the need for precognition as well.

If the Band 2 inspector gives permission, you should write to the solicitor agreeing to precognition on condition that the appropriate fee (see ready reckoner) will be agreed in advance for your time, and that the interview will be carried out in your office, unless an alternative location would be more convenient to you.

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Updated 2023-11-13