If you are unfortunate enough to end up embroiled in county court proceedings, you will almost inevitably be asked to submit a statement of case to the court at some point.
Statements of case include the following documents:
- the claim form and particulars of claim
- the defence
- any counterclaim
- additional claims under Part 20 of the Civil Procedure Rules
- reply to defence
- Scott schedules
- any further information given in relation to these documents whether voluntarily or by court order.
There are certain basic principles that apply to all statements of case, which were adopted mainly to reduce the costs and time required at trial.
However, there are specific rules that apply in certain courts, such as the Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide, the Queens’s Bench Guide, and the Chancery Guide.
Rule One – Be Concise But Precise
The first general rule is that statements of case should be concise. They should not contain irrelevant details. The language used should be as clear as possible. Therefore avoid Latin phrases and legal jargon where possible. A clear and concise statement will help to make your argument more persuasive whereas a rambling statement is likely to annoy the judge.
Rule Two – Formalities Are Not Banalities
Be formal. All statements of case must be headed with the title of the proceedings and should state the claim number, the court or division in which they are proceeding, the full name of each party and each party’s status in the proceedings.
Furthermore statements must be set out in separate, consecutively numbered paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. If possible, each paragraph or sub-paragraph should contain no more than one allegation and should deal with the case on a point-by-point basis to allow for a point-by-point response.
Never forget to verify statements with a statement of truth at the end. A statement of truth usually reads as follows: “[I believe][The Claimant/Defendant believes] that the facts stated in these [Particulars of Claim] are true.”
Rule Three – Put Your Stamp On It, A.K.A. Sign It
Statements have to be signed by the individual who drafted the documents. “Obviously”, you might think, but it is worth a reminder as you certainly don’t want to forget!