Judges and lawyers use a lot of legal language. If you have not studied law or are unfamiliar with the terms they use, going to court can be very confusing. If someone sues you and lodges a legal claim with a court, you will receive a legal document outlining their claim. One phrase that appears throughout these documents is ‘particulars’. What does this actually mean, and why are particulars of a pleading relevant? In this article we explain: 

  • what particulars are; and 
  • why you should understand them.

What Is the Difference Between Pleadings and Particulars?

Particulars outline a claim or defend a position in legal proceedings. Any allegations in these documents are called pleadings. Pleadings set out the legal points a party wishes to make against the other side.

Imagine pleadings as the points of an argument (i.e. the claims or allegations). In this scenario, particulars are the relevant facts and evidence to prove those points.

An Example of Pleadings and Particulars

Imagine a dispute where one person (the plaintiff) claims that they have lost money because of the actions of another person (the defendant). Two examples of pleadings and particulars in this instance are:

  • the pleading could read: “As a result of the defendant’s actions in damaging the supplies, the plaintiff suffered financial loss.” The particulars would read: “The sum of $10,000 owing to replace the supplies as specified in the replacement invoice dated XXXX.”
  • alternatively, the pleading could read: “Business A had an obligation to pay Business B $1,000 in interest every month.” The particulars would read: “Clause 9.7(a) of the Loan Agreement”.

Why Are Particulars Important?

In any court proceedings, communication and preparation will enable the process to run more efficiently. This will save time and costs for everyone. 

Clear particulars and pleadings will benefit communication and collaboration in several ways.

For example, they will help to:

  • ensure that each side is aware of what the proceedings will decide;
  • limit arguments in the proceedings to the highlighted issues; 
  • prevent important information from remaining hidden until the end of proceedings; and
  • clearly set out what is at stake for each claim or allegation.

Court proceedings would quickly become chaotic if anyone could make a claim for losses without substantiating how much was lost and proving it. The strict requirements on particulars help to ensure that parties may only raise genuine claims.

What if the Other Side’s Particulars are Wrong?

It is not necessary to deny or discredit the other side’s particulars. Particulars are essentially the evidence that backs up a claim, and the actual claim itself is what you should argue against. A good disputes and litigation lawyer will set out the relevant facts in response to claims to support your legal position and provide your own correct particulars. This strategy is more effective, as it keeps proceedings on track and prevents arguments about minor points.

What if Particulars are Missing or Insufficient?

There are certain requirements that particulars need to meet. Particulars should not be:

  • too general or vague to understand in the context of the allegation or claim; 
  • unrelated to the point in the argument being presented; or
  • an argument in itself or an opinion.

If the other side has drafted pleadings but the particulars are insufficient, you may be able to request that the other party provides ‘further and better particulars’. If the court grants your request, the other side must provide more detail and evidence for the claims they are putting forth. Where they are unable to do so, they must remove those claims.

Since there can be time restrictions or limitations, it is best to seek legal advice as early as possible.

Can Particulars be used for Multiple Allegations?

It is quite common for particulars to appear several times in a legal statement of claim or defence. This is because one particular fact may give rise to several claims or several excuses, and so the fact is relevant evidence in multiple instances.

Key Takeaways

Legal language can be complicated. However, being able to understand and communicate with your legal representative about information and evidence can mean the difference between winning and losing a case. It also helps ensure that the process runs smoothly, quickly and cheaply. It is important to engage a legal professional who is familiar with the many rules in litigation. This will put you in a better situation from the outset and reduce potentially costly delays. If you have any questions about particulars, contact LegalVision’s Disputes and Litigation lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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