What are particulars and pleadings?

Particulars are used to outline a claim or defend a position in legal proceedings. These can be facts or evidence used to prove claims or allegations. Clear particulars allow for court proceedings to run more efficiently, which saves time and costs for all those involved. Pleadings are any allegations made in documents of particulars, which set out the legal points a party wishes to make against the other side. This Legal Kitz article will assist you in better understanding a response to further and better particulars.

What is the legal definition of particulars?

The exact legal definition of particulars varies depending on what Court proceedings are commenced in, however, the general concept mentioned previously remains the same throughout. The legal definition of particulars as stated by various Courts within Australia are defined below:

As per the High Court of Australia: “particulars necessary to enable the opposite party to plead or to define questions for trial to avoid surprise at the trial, and particulars of any misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, wilful default, or like matter.”

As per the Federal Court of Australia: “a party pleading shall state in the pleading or in a document filed and served with it the necessary particulars of any claim, defence or other matter pleaded by him.” The Federal Court also states that “the object of particulars is to limit the generality of pleadings by:

  • Informing an opposing party of the nature of the case the party has to meet;
  • Preventing an opposing party being taken by surprise at the trial; and 
  • Enabling the opposing party to collect whatever evidence is necessary and available.”

The Queensland Court uses the Uniform Civil Procedures Act 1999 (UCPR) definition which applies to the Magistrates Court, District Court and Supreme Court. This definition of particulars is as follows: “a party must include in a pleading particulars necessary to:

  • Define the issues for, and prevent surprise at, the trial;
  • Enable the opposite party to plead; and
  • Support a matter specifically pleaded under rule 150.”
Particulars are important.

Why are particulars important?

Particulars are the key to tailoring pleadings to specify the material facts of the case that go toward or defending an action. A pleading that lacks specificity and does not detail a reasonable cause of action may cause prejudice or delays in proceedings. 

What is a claim and statement of claim?

A claim is a set of operative facts which create a right that is enforceable in court. A statement of claim is the first time the court will hear from you about your case. Once a statement of claim is submitted, the defendant has 28 days to respond. If the defendant believes they do not have all the necessary information to understand the claim and adequately respond, they may ask for further and better particulars. The court may make an order that requires you to provide the further and better particulars if you do not respond to the defendant’s request. 

What is a request for further and better particulars?

Further and better particulars essentially means that the defendant needs more information from you about the claim. The defendant may specify parts of the statement of claim which they require more information about. It is vital that the defendant understands the claim being made against them, especially in the case that the claim is complex. 

A request for further and better particulars can also be made in relation to a defence or cross-claim later in the proceedings. 

The request for further and better proceedings is made by the defendant usually in the forms of a letter from the solicitor representing the opposing side. The letter commonly includes:

  • A request for a copy of the documents mentioned in the statement of claim;
  • Further details about anything mentioned in the statement of claim; and 
  • Clarity on any pleadings which are confusing or ambiguous. 

A defence will not usually be filed by the defendant until they receive response on their request for further and better particulars. Clearly detailing the statement of claim will assist in speeding up the process and associated proceedings. 

How do I respond to further and better particulars?

Response to further and better particulars occurs once you have received the request. The response is usually made in the form of a letter. It is important to note that a response to every single request may not be necessary. Your legal team can assess how to respond to the request in a way which ensures the best outcome for you. 

There are some cases in which it may not be necessary for you to provide further and better particulars. These reasons include:

  • Your legal team has decided that your statement of claim is already sufficiently detailed;
  • The request is a matter of evidence which should be dealt with as part of the trial, rather than at an earlier stage of proceedings; and 
  • Your legal team has decided that the request is not a proper request for particulars and, therefore, you do not need to address it accordingly. 

It is important to write your letter based on the details of your own situation and specific circumstances. Always seek legal advice when you need additional assistance. 

In any case, it is important to move quickly so that the proceedings are able to progress to the next stage. 

Legal advice

If you require any assistance with responding to further and better particulars, or need advice on pleadings, our highly skilled and professional team can help! Book here now for a FREE 30-minute consultation.

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