What are statements of case?
The statements of case are formal documents used during litigation. They provide information about each party’s case and the contentions that each will be put forward at trial. They allow the trial judge to understand what is at issue between the parties. Under Civil Procedure Rules, these documents include the:
- claim form;
- particulars of claim;
- reply to defence.
The claim form must:
- contain a concise statement of the nature of the claim;
- specify the remedy which the claimant seeks;
- where the claimant is making a claim for money, contain a statement of value;
- where the claimant’s only claim is for a specified sum, contain a statement of the interest accrued on that sum; and
- contain such other matters as may be set out in a practice direction.
Particulars of claim
The particulars of claim must contain:
- a concise statement of the facts on which the claimant plans to rely;
- a statement giving details of any interest the claimant is seeking;
- a statement setting out whether the claimant is seeking aggravated damages or exemplary damages and his/ her grounds for claiming them;
- if the claimant is seeking provisional damages, a statement to that effect and his/ her grounds for claiming them; and
- any other matters that might be required in the relevant practice direction.
The particulars of claim is served with the claim form or within 14 days of service of the claim form being served. If the case is a personal injury claim, the claimant must also attach a medical report and statement of loss and expenses with the particulars of claim. In claims based on written contracts, the contractual documents must also be served with the particulars of claim.
A defence is a document which is served in reply to the particulars of claim. In this, the defendant must state which allegations in the particulars of claim s/he admits (which will then cease to be an issue), allegations the defendant is unable to admit or deny (which will then require the claimant to provide proof of the allegations) and allegations which are denied (the defendant should gives reasons for the denial and state any alternative version of events).
Where a defendant claims he is entitled to money from the claimant, and relies on this as a defence to the whole or part of the claim, the contention may be included in the defence and set off against the claim.
The defence must be served within 14 days of service of the particulars of claim or 28 days if the defendant has acknowledged service.
Reply or defence to counterclaim
If the claimant wishes to deal with any new issues raised in the defence, this should be done in the reply. The claimant should respond to any counterclaim made by the defendant through a defence to counterclaim.
Statement of truth
All statements of case must be verified by statement of truth, ie, a statement declaring that the party which is putting this statement forward believes it to be true. This statement prevents parties relying on statements which they do not believe are true or which are not supported by evidence. If the statement is not signed, the party is not allowed to rely on it and it may be struck out.
Striking out a statement of case
The court has the power to strike out a statement of case if it believes the statement of case discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending the claim, that the statement of case is or is likely to be an abuse of the court’s process, or a rule, practice direction or court order has not been complied with.