Particulars of claim
The particulars of claim is a document that a claimant files with the court and serves on the defendant, and which sets out the details of the claimant's case.
How and when particulars of claim are filed and served
A claimant commences proceedings in the court by filing a claim form. The claim form is a court-issued, fill-in-the-blanks document, and contains certain basic information about the parties and the claimant's case.
The particulars of claim can either be part of the claim form, or can be set out in a separate document. If the particulars of claim are in a separate document, the claimant can serve them either with the claim form or separately within 14 days after serving the claim form.
The content of the particulars of claim
The court rules require that particulars of claim include: (i) a concise statement of the facts the claimant is relying on; and (ii) if the claimant is seeking interest, a statement to that effect together with details about the rate of interest and the date from which it has accrued.
In drafting particulars of claim, a solicitor will usually try to strike a balance between brevity and the provision of enough factual (and sometimes legal) information to give the court and the defendant a clear understanding of the claimant's case. Particulars of claim should not include an exhaustive account of all evidence that the claimant will use to support his claim. The detailed evidence supporting the claim will be set out in the witness statements that the claimant will produce.
The court rules (or practice directions) require that the particulars of claim for certain types of claims include specified items relating to the claim. For instance, if the claim is for breach of a written contract, the particulars of claim should have a copy of the contract attached (or, if it is a large document, the relevant parts). Where the claim is based on an oral agreement, the particulars of claim should set out the words that were used to create the oral agreement and state by whom, to whom, when and where they were spoken.
If the claim is based on a breach of contract or an injury arising out of the defendant's breach of a duty of care, the particulars of claim must set out the details of the claimed breach.
The particulars of claim must also set out the relief or remedy that the claimant seeks.
The format of particulars of claim
The court rules set out detailed requirements for the format of particulars of claim -- even governing details such as how dates should be written (for instance 1 May 2010 rather than 1-5-10), the size of paper used, and the way numbers should be written.
When the particulars of claim are separate from the claim form, they must include a "statement of truth" in which the claimant verifies that the facts stated in the particulars of claim are true.
Get help with a claim
A solicitor who specialises in litigation can help you with your claim, and will be proficient in drafting particulars of claim as well as all other documentation relating to your case. You can find solicitors who do litigation work by doing some research online, asking friends and colleagues about solicitors they may have used, or by using a free referral service like Contact Law.