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What is a statement of fact?
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What Does Statement of Facts Mean
A statement of facts generally refers to a document where certain factual events or circumstances are outlined in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
Statement of facts is “factual” in nature and does not contain legal argumentation, opinions, or other types of statements.
For example, you can have a statement of fact presented in a legal document (or pleading) presented to a judge.
You can also have a statement of fact when completing your vehicle registration papers providing factual information about your vehicle, applying for health insurance, filling up a school form, or even applying for a credit card.
The reason why it’s called a statement of “fact” is that the objective of the document is to present a certain factual account.
In the context of a court proceeding, trial lawyers tend to use the factual account of events to provide the judge with a proper background to be able to make their case.
Statement of Facts Definition
The statement of facts can be defined as follows:
A legal document putting forward factual statements without any arguments or opinions.
In other words, a “statement of fact” is:
- A legal document
- Presents relevant facts
- And does not contain any argumentation
You may be required to give a statement of factual events in a form, application, court document, or other.
The objective of the statement is to provide the relevant pieces of information a decision-maker needs to assess your case or demand.
Purpose of Statement of Fact
The objective of a fact statement is to present factual for the official record.
In the context of legal proceedings, statements of facts are used to present factual information about the case that is relevant for the judge.
Since the document is intended to be factual in nature, you will not find legal arguments, pleadings, or opinions presented in the document.
Rather, you will have reference to facts such as:
- Legal documents
- Medical records
- Police records
- Eye witness accounts
- Reference to dates
- Reference to events
And so on.
Lawyers report the facts in a way that allows them the paint a more favorable picture of their case or allow a more beneficial interpretation of the facts in their client’s favor.
For the statement of fact to be impactful, the way you frame the facts and the manner you present “factual information” can create an effective story supporting your legal argumentation.
Statement of Fact In Law
Lawyers and legal professionals dealing with the courts are used to writing factual statements for trial briefs or other types of legal proceedings.
When presenting a statement of fact in a brief to a court, the attorney’s objective is to:
- Address a particular legal issue without arguing the law
- Draft the factual account of events in a persuasive manner
- Try to factually tell a story in a convincing manner
Effective statements tend to have a characteristic similar to a narrative where you have:
- A plotline
- Series of events
- Cast of characters
- Vantage point
The only difference between a narrative and a legal statement of fact is that the legal statement of facts must report the relevant facts as required by the applicable laws.
As such, there is a close connection between the facts that are presented in a statement of fact and the law applying to the case or particular demand.
When drafting a statement of facts as a trial brief or appellate brief, it is crucial that you write the statement in a compelling, coherent, and complete manner.
There are different techniques that you can use to produce great statements of facts, such as:
- Try to draft your statements in alignment with your case theory
- Draft the facts in such a way that you implicitly tell your story
- Don’t leave important pieces of factual information out of your brief even if it’s not favorable for your case
- Do not try to deceive the judge
- Do not use overdramatizing language
- Make your “story” as interesting as possible
- Try to use specific and descriptive terms
- Make sure that your factual account is consistent with past statements
There are also statement of facts guides and checklists that you can use to help you draft a legal brief.
Statement of Facts Example
To better illustrate the point, let’s look at a statement of fact example to see how it works.
Example 1: Shipping
Although a statement of fact (or SoF) can be used in many situations, one use case is in the shipping industry.
In shipping, a statement of facts refers to a report of chronological events in a ship’s stay in a particular port intended to calculate the ship’s lay time.
Typically, the person making the factual statements in the SoF will use a standard form to this end.
In shipping, the state of facts is often written by the port agent or the shipmaster and can include:
- The ship’s arrival time
- The ship’s departure time
- The ship’s time at the berth
- Time when cargo is loaded
- Time when cargo is unloaded
- Weather conditions
- Use of tugboats
Example 2: Legal Briefs
Another example of when a statement of fact is used is in the context of legal briefs filed in court appeal procedures.
Generally, the statement of fact is used to present the factual background of the legal proceeding to the appeals judge (and the Appellate Court), and can include:
- The sequence of events in the prior proceedings
- Any particular difficulties the appealing party encountered during the prior court proceedings
- Any problems encountered with the jury
- The manner evidence was handled
- The manner the jury was instructed
And so on.
The objective is to relate to the appellate court the facts based on which the appealing lawyer believes that he or she can successfully win the appeal.
The legal brief does not necessarily have to be filed before the appeals court, it can be filed before any judicial instance.
Here is an example of a statement of material and undisputed facts presented by a defendant before the Supreme Court of the State of New York, in the County of New York, as you can see published on the NYCourts.gov website:
This is a statement of material and undisputed facts in support of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Example 3: Vehicle Registration
There are many instances where you will need to complete a “statement of facts”.
One instance when a factS statement can be required is when you are dealing with your vehicle registration.
As you can see here, the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of California has published its DMV Statement of Facts (Reg 256) that looks like:
In the DMV Statement of Facts, the factual information needed are grouped into the following categories:
- Statement for use tax exemption
- Statement for smog exemption
- Statement for transfer only or title only
- Window decal for wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier
- Statement for vehicle body change
- Name statement
- Statement of facts
- Applicant’s signature
At the end of the form, you have a field relating to the statement of facts:
As you can see on this form, by signing the form, you are certifying that the facts you are providing are true under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California and you are stating that the information is “true and correct”.
Statement of Facts Form
There are times when a statement of fact is completed the same way a form is completed.
In a statement of fact form, you can expect to find:
- A series of questions
- A field where you are required to answer the questions
- Potentially a statement where you are asserting that the information you are providing is true
- The date
- Your signature
For example, when you are required to complete a vehicle registration form, you are essentially filling out a statement of fact form with regards to your vehicle registration.
The form guides you as to what factual information is needed for the record and the authority to make a decision or to assess your application.
You can also find a form statement of fact in the shipping industry where the BIMCO statement of facts is used quite often.
However, you will not necessarily find a neat form all the time.
In law, there are many cases where a legal party will need to draft a statement of facts for the court in support of an application, petition, or another pleading document.
Preparing a statement of facts is not easy and can actually get quite complex depending on the nature of the legal demand.
Many will consult legal professionals such as a trial lawyer or a litigation lawyer to help them draft their fact statement in a complete, professional, and legally sound manner.
Statement of Fact Takeaways
So, there you have it folks!
What is the statement of fact definition?
How do you write a statement of facts?
How does it work?
A statement of facts is a legal document where you outlined key factual information relevant for a case, application, or decision-making authority.
The reason why it’s called a “statement” of “fact” is that it is essentially that, it’s a statement that you make about facts.
In law, lawyers and legal professionals use different techniques to relate facts in their trial briefs of appellate briefs by writing statements that use persuasion techniques, storytelling techniques, and have an interplay between the facts and the law.
The statement of fact is not just used in law but can be found in many areas such as vehicle registration, matriculating in school, applying for a credit card, getting a loan, or others.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Statement of Facts Meaning
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