How to Draft a Statement of Claim
It can be a daunting task to draft a statement of claim, even for a lawyer, because there are so many rules and requirements.
However there are some basic requirements which should always be met:
- The statement of claim must identify the issues of fact and law to be decided by the Court.
- The statement of claim must disclose an arguable cause of action. A cause of action is the combination of facts which gives rise to a right to sue eg breach of contract, negligence, misleading and deceptive conduct.
- The statement of claim must apprise the other parties of the case they have to meet at trial.
Provided the above requirements are met, the Court will generally allow the action to proceed.
Here are a few additional requirements:
- All material facts must be stated. A material fact is a fact which must be proved in order to support a cause of action.
In a case involving breach of contract, the material facts must include the following: (a) that a particular contract was entered into on a particular date between particular parties (b) how and when the contract was breached, and (c) that damage was suffered as a consequence of the breach of contract (particulars must be given of the damage).
- Evidence should only be stated if it constitutes a material fact or particulars of a material fact.
For example, a material fact might be that on 10 February 2018 a contract was breached when the other party communicated that it was not ready, willing or able to perform the contract. The evidence of that communication should be stated simply in order to particularise the material fact (eg ‘Email dated 10 February 2018 from P to D’), but the text of the email itself should not be recited. This is because the email will be the subject of evidence at trial.
- The relief or remedy you are seeking from the Court must be stated. For example, an order for specific performance of the contract, or damages for breach of contract, interest and costs.
You can expect that if a statement of claim does not meet the above requirements, it will be objected to by any lawyers acting for the defendant(s). This will slow the proceeding down because you will generally be required to amend the statement of claim before any other step is taken in the proceeding.
Please contact me if you would like assistance drafting a statement of claim.
Greg Carter is a freelance litigation lawyer based in Perth, specialising in fixed-fee commercial dispute resolution.
Greg offers a FREE consultation and a ‘no obligation’ quotation.
For more information please call Greg on 0422 406 929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or see his website www.gregcarter.com.au.