What Is A Statement Of Claim?

What’s the next step when talks and negotiations fail to resolve your commercial dispute? Go to court. But how do you start the court hearing process? The first step is preparing and filing a statement of claim.

A statement of claim is a document summarising your case, the claims, and the parties who should pay the claims/damages. You must write and file it correctly to ensure the court starts the hearing process.

It’s best to hire an expert disputes lawyer to file the document for you to avoid delays or dismissal. Read this comprehensive guide to understand statements of claim and how to file and respond to such statements in Australia.

What Is A Statement Of Claim In Law?

A statement of claim in Australia is a legal document containing the key details about your dispute or claim. The plaintiff (the party seeking relief) prepares the statement of claim and files it to the relevant court to start a civil matter.

The statement of claim contains the particulars and pleadings of your case. The pleadings are the details about your claim and the damages you’re entitled to. On the other hand, the particulars go into more detail about the claim, including why you’re entitled to the mentioned claims.

What Are The Functions Of A Statement Of Claim?

Since the statement of claim is the first step in the dispute litigation process, it serves several important functions. These include:

  • Starts the dispute resolution process: You must file a statement of claim for the court to recognise your claim and begin the litigation process. After filing, the court lists your case and schedules it for a hearing.
  • Provides vital details about your dispute: The statement of claim allows you to outline the main details of your claim, including the pleadings and particulars of the case.
  • Allows the defendant to respond: After filing the claim, you must also serve the sealed copy on the defendant. This step gives the defendant a chance to respond to the claim.
  • It outlines the claim you’re seeking: The statement of claim allows you (the plaintiff) to specify the damages/remedy you’re seeking from the defendant.

How To File A Statement Of Claim

You’ll need to get the statement of claim from your local court or state’s registry. For example, in New South Wales, you can get Form 3B from the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (UCPR) website, local courts, or file it online via the NSW Online Registry.

Fill out the form and ensure you provide the correct details. These include the defendant’s name, the details of your claim (including the amount), the court’s address, and other relevant details.

Sign the form and file it via post, taking it to your preferred court or through your state’s online registry. Pay the filing fee and remember to attach supporting documents like evidence of debts the defendant owes you.

What Happens After A Statement Of Claim Is Filed?

You might need to file one or several copies of a statement of claim, depending on your state or territory. What happens after a statement of claim is filed? The receiving court stamps, dates, and gives a file number to your claim form.

Consequently, the court returns the sealed copies (the form with a court stamp) to you. You must serve a sealed copy of the statement of claim on your defendant. There’s a time limit for serving the stamped copy on the defendant. For example, you must do it within six months after filing in New South Wales.

What To Do If I Receive A Statement Of Claim

When you get a statement of claim in Australia, a plaintiff has already filed the case against you. Seek legal advice promptly to craft the right way to proceed and respond to the statement.

If you’re in Victoria, you must file a notice of defence within 21 days of receiving the statement of claim. Failure to do so can lead to the plaintiff applying for a court order.

Besides filing a notice of defence, you can respond to a statement of claim through the following ways:

  • Agree with the claim: You can accept the claim and pay the owed amount in whole or arrange a payment plan.
  • Negotiate the claim: Reach out to the plaintiff to negotiate the amount of damage they are seeking.
  • Seek more information: If you don’t understand the claim clearly, you can request more case particulars before taking further action. Or file a notice to plead facts.
  • File a cross-claim: If you think the plaintiff owes you, you can file a cross-claim seeking payment for damages. You can also file a cross-claim if you believe another party should be liable to pay the plaintiff part or all the claimed money.

Dealing With A Statement Of Claim The Right Way

Whether serving or responding to a statement of claim, you must do it correctly. Failing to do so can lead to various issues for your business and you may struggle to recover the damages you are owed.

Luckily, you don’t have to struggle with this complex legal document. Book a free call to speak to our expert commercial lawyer about your case. We’ll help you deal with statements of claim and get the best outcome. Contact 1300 234 886, and let’s get started.

Resources & Further Reading

  1. https://www.mcv.vic.gov.au/civil-matters/starting-civil-matter#:~:text=Fill%20in%20a%20complaint%20%2D%20Form,contact%20your%20nearest%20Magistrates’%20Court.
  2. https://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/publications/benchbks/civil/pleadings_and_particulars.html#:~:text=Pleadings%20and%20particulars%20have%20a,determined%20at%20the%20trial%20%E2%80%A6%20and
  3. https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/my-problem-is-about/my-money/making-a-claim/step-by-step-guide-serving-a-statement-of-claim

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult with a qualified commercial lawyer for personalised advice regarding your specific situation.