This week I’m looking at a case from the Chancery Division of all places, Instrument Product Development Ltd v WD Engineering Solutions Ltd.
Why, I hear you ask? Well, it caught my eye because the judgment starts by talking about a noted 1981 study, Role of schemeta in memory for places (was it just me that had to Google the meaning of “schemata”?) by psychologists William Brewer and James Treyens, and went on:
“The study demonstrates an aspect of the fallibility of memory. We do not store memories as images, like a photo album, to be revisited in detail at a later date. We recreate the image every time we recall it, combining the details of what we do recall with our expectations of what we should recall. The process is automatic, and done without conscious realisation that it is taking place.
That issue is at the heart of this case. In the Brewer and Treyens study, different witnesses had different recollections of the same room that they had seen only seconds before. In this case, two witnesses have critically different recollections of the same telephone conversation held in March 2017 to which they were the only parties.”
It’s certainly not the first time that the courts have considered the reliability (or otherwise) of the memories of witnesses, and we’ve also blogged on the topic before. However, the case provides a useful summary of the relevant principles, and the opportunity to consider those in the context of construction adjudication. Continue reading