The first step to starting court proceedings is filing a statement of claim. A statement of claim is a document which contains a summary of the facts supporting your case. If you do not draft this correctly, the court or other party may require you to re-draft or amend your statement of claim. This will cause delays to the court hearing your case. It may even cause your claim to be struck out altogether.

Further, if you do not amend your statement of claim within a specific period of time, you will need to file an application for the court to approve the amendment. This can be costly.

What is a Statement of Claim?

A statement of claim is the first time the court will hear from you about your case. It is the foundation document that establishes your claim and who the parties to the claim are. When you submit this to the court, you also serve a copy on the other party of the claim. This alerts the defendant about the case that they need to meet. 

A statement of claim should be drafted in a clear and concise way. What claims you are making and the facts that you are relying upon should be unambiguous and make a reasonable argument. If you do not meet these requirements, your statement of claim could be “struck out” or required to be rewritten. It will contain both ‘pleadings’ and ‘particulars’.

Beyond this, your statement of claim should set out:

  • what you are seeking from the other party; and 
  • the cause of action you are relying on to seek this.

For example, you made an agreement with someone to loan them money, and they do not pay you back. Here, the damages you seek would generally be the amount owed under the contract. The cause of action may be a breach of your loan agreement. 

What Will My Lawyers Be Doing?

Your LegalVision legal team will be working on drafting the claim and considering all possible causes of action. The team will also look into all potential weaknesses in your case. This ensures we can anticipate what the other side may argue against you. This will involve requesting additional information and documents from you to ensure we have all the necessary facts at hand. 

Once finalised, the claim needs to be filed with the relevant court and served on the other side. Filing normally occurs via an online portal. Serving the documents on the other side may include personal service if they are an individual, or by post to the registered office if they are a company.

What Do I Need To Do?

If you are at this stage of the proceedings, there are a few things that your LegalVision team may need you to do. This includes:

  1. providing relevant documents – if you have not already provided all the relevant documents, this is first on your list. If there is a long history to the dispute, it is also helpful to draw up a short timeline of events to date;
  2. clarifying upon request – to ensure everyone is on the same page, we may need you to provide additional information or clarify details in the documents;
  3. reviewing your claim – we will need you to review the finalised statement of claim to ensure that it is factually accurate; and
  4. asking questions  if you do not understand something, ask us. Your LegalVision team is always available to answer any questions you may have about your claim.

This article is part of a larger publication on the NSW Local Court Process. To read about the next step in the NSW Local Court process, click here.

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