Pleading (England and Wales)
Pleading in England and Wales is covered by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR).
Exchange of correspondence
Formal proceedings should be preceded by an initial exchange of correspondence in accordance with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Protocols. These exchanges are not technically part of the pleading process, and parties are not encouraged to take points on any discrepancy between pre-action correspondence and the formal statements of case.
Civil Procedure Rules
The claim form must contain a concise statement of the nature of the claim and specify the remedies which the claimant seeks. It must also contain a statement of value in accordance with CPR 16.3.
Particulars of Claim
The Particulars of Claim (equivalent to a Complaint) must contain a concise statement of case (which includes the legal and factual case) on which the claimant relies, together with details of any interest claimed and whether aggravated damages or provisional damages are claimed.
The Defence (equivalent to an Answer) must state which allegations of the Particulars of Claim are admitted, which allegations are denied, and which allegations the defendant is unable to admit or deny, but which the claimant is required to prove. A defendant must give reasons for any denial, and must put forward his or her own version of events if different from the claimant's version. The Rules do not speak to affirmative defences (save that CPR PD 16 paragraph 13.1 requires the defendant to give details of the expiry of any limitation period relied on), but a concise statement of any facts relied on in support of any affirmative defence should be included in the Defence.
The claimant may, but need not, respond to the Defence by means of a Reply. Further statements of case following a Reply are possible, but require the court's permission.
The Practice Direction accompanying Part 16 sets out various items which must be included in or served with statements of case in particular circumstances, for example medical reports (paragraphs 4.3 and 12.1) and written contracts (paragraph 7.3).
Statement of case
Statements of case may refer to points of law and include names of witnesses whom it is proposed to call. A party may also attach to or serve with a statement of case any document which is considered necessary to the claim or defence, but which is not required to be attached or served. The claim form and all statements of case must be verified by a statement of truth, signed by the party or his or her legal representative. A person who makes a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth is liable to be prosecuted for contempt of court.
Counterclaims, claims for contribution or indemnity against another party, and third party claims (collectively referred to as 'additional claims') are governed by CPR Part 20.
A counterclaim should normally be included in the same document ('Defence and Counterclaim') as the defence and should follow on from it. The claimant's defence to the counterclaim should be included in the same document ('Reply and Defence to Counterclaim') as the reply and shouldfollow on from the reply. A claim for contribution or indemnity against another party is made by serving and filing a notice containing a statement of the nature and grounds of the claim.
An additional claim is treated as a normal claim unless Part 20 otherwise provides, so the rules on contents of claim forms, Particulars of Claim, Defences and Replies apply accordingly, although the title of the statement of case should be modified to make clear who is pleading, and which statement of case, if any, is being responded to.
Amendment of statements of case