The Particulars of Claim provide the claimant’s statement of case in personal injury and clinical negligence claims. They set out the factual and legal basis upon which the claimant is seeking to claim against the defendant.
Particulars of Claim are required under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) to start the claim proceedings.
What is included in Particulars of Claim?
Under the CPR, the Particulars of Claim must contain the following:
- A concise statement of the claimant’s case and the facts upon which they rely.
- If the claimant is seeking interest, a statement to that effect and the basis, (and where appropriate the rate), upon which that interest is claimed.
- If the claimant is seeking aggravated, exemplary or provisional damages, a statement to that effect and their grounds for claiming them.
- A statement of truth.
Statement of facts
The information contained within the particulars of claim will vary significantly depending on the nature of the claim and the complexity of the facts.
However, every particulars of claim must set out a concise statement of the material facts upon which the claimant relies. These facts must set out in sufficient detail to establish a cause of action in law.
Accordingly, the particulars of claim will need to include relevant details of, and background to, the parties involved. They will also need to include the essential ingredients of the cause of action that, if proven, would give the claimant a right against the defendant to the remedy claimed.
By way of example, a claim for personal injury must outline the facts that resulted in the injury, as well as the basis upon which the claimant alleges the defendant is liable, such as in negligence or breach of statutory duty. The claimant must also go on to state that as a result of that negligence or breach of duty, they have suffered injury, loss and damage.
If the claimant is seeking interest, the particulars of claim must state whether they are claiming interest under the terms of a contract, a relevant statutory provision, or on some other basis.
If the claim is for a specified amount of money, the claimant must state the percentage rate at which interest is claimed, the date from which it is claimed, the date to which it is calculated (which must not be later than the date on which the claim form is issued), the total amount of interest claimed to the date of calculation, and the daily rate at which interest accrues after that date.
Aggravated, exemplary and provisional damages
Aggravated, exemplary and provisional damages are special types of damages that a claimant may seek from the defendant in addition to any ordinary award of compensation for the type of claim in question.
Aggravated damages are to compensate the claimant for mental distress or injury to feelings caused by the manner or motive with which a wrong was committed, for example, in a claim for discrimination where an employer has acted in a particularly malicious or insulting way.
Exemplary damages, otherwise known as punitive damages, are awarded in excess of the claimant’s loss. They are intended to punish the defendant, rather than compensate the claimant. They are typically awarded in cases involving deliberate torts, such as deceit and defamation, where the defendant is guilty of oppressive behaviour.
Provisional damages arise in the context of personal injury claims. These refer to the claimant’s right to return to court to apply for further damages if they suffer serious deterioration in the future as a result of the original injury, for example, in brain or spinal injury cases where the prognosis is often unclear.
Statement of truth
The particulars of claim must be verified by what’s known as a statement of truth. A statement of truth is a declaration that the facts contained within the claimant’s statement of case are true. This must be set out in the following form:
‘[I believe][the claimant believes] that the facts stated in these particulars of claim are true.’
In particulars of claim the statement of truth must be signed either by the claimant, their litigation friend or legal representative. A litigation friend is a person appointed to make a decision about a case on the claimant’s behalf, for example, if the claimant is a minor or a person who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own court case.
The individual who signs a statement of truth must print their full name clearly beneath his signature. A legal representative who signs a statement of truth must sign in their own name and not that of the firm or employer.
If a claimant fails to verify their statement of case by a statement of truth, the particulars of claim are at risk of being struck out, either on an application by the defendant or of the court’s own initiative. Further, the claimant may not rely on the particulars of claim as evidence of any of the matters set out in it.
Particulars of claim in special cases
In specific types of claim, special provisions are made under the rules as to additional contents to be included within the particulars of claim. Examples of claims with special provisions include claims for personal injury, fatal accident claims and hire purchase claims, although this list is not exhaustive.
By way of example, in a claim for personal injury the particulars of claim must contain the claimant’s date of birth and brief details of the claimant’s personal injuries. The claimant must also attach to his particulars of claim a schedule of details of any past and future expenses, and other losses that they claim.
Further, where the claimant is relying on the evidence of a medical practitioner, the claimant must attach to or serve with his particulars of claim a medical report about the personal injuries allegedly sustained.
If the claimant seeks provisional damages (see above), the particulars of claim must also state there is a chance that at some future time they will develop some serious disease or suffer serious deterioration in their physical or mental condition, specifying the disease or type of deterioration in respect of which an application may be made at a future date.
The claim form and particulars of claim
If practicable, the particulars of claim should be set out in the claim form or, alternatively, served as a separate document albeit at the same time, or within 14 days after service of the claim form provided that this is not later than 4 months from the date of issue of the claim form.
If the particulars of claim are not included in, or have not been served with the claim form, the claim form must also contain a statement that particulars of claim will follow.
Where served separately from the claim form, the particulars of claim must contain the name of the court in which the claim is proceeding, the claim number, the title of the proceedings and the claimant’s address for service.
As with the particulars of claim, the claim form itself must also contain certain key information, namely:
A concise statement of the nature of the claim.
Specify the remedy that the claimant seeks, for example, damages or injunctive relief. The particulars of claim, where served separately, should also briefly repeat the remedies that the claimant seeks from the court.
Where the claimant is making a claim for money, contain a statement of value, ie; the amount of money claimed. This should also include the bracket within which the claimant expects the value of their claim to fall (expressed as not more than £10,000, more than £10,000 but not more than £25,000, or more than £25,000).
Where the claimant’s only claim is for a specified sum, contain a statement of the interest accrued on that sum.
As with the rules relating to particulars of claim, there is again additional information that may also need to be included for specific types of claim. By way of example, in a claim for personal injury, the claimant must state whether the amount that they expect to recover as general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity is either less or more than £1,000.
The brackets and sums referred to above will help the court to determine what track the claim is allocated to (either the small claims, fast track or multi-track), for which there are different rules on procedure and costs.
Responding to particulars of claim
The formal response to particulars of claim is known as a defence. Again there are provisions made under the rules as to what key information a defence should contain. In particular, a defendant must state which of the allegations in the particulars of claim are denied, which they are unable to admit or deny but requires the claimant to prove, and which are admitted.
Where the defendant denies an allegation, they must state the reasons for so doing, putting forward any different version of events from that given by the claimant in the particulars of claim.
Failing to comply with the rules on particulars of claim
If particulars of claim fail to comply with the rules, either in content or timing of service, the claimant is at risk of sanctions being imposed by the court. This could include an order to amend the particulars of claim so as to comply with the rules, together with costs penalties.
It could even include the claim itself being struck out altogether. This could be done on application by the defendant or of the court’s own initiative.
Under the rules, the court has the power to strike out the whole or part of a statement of case that discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim. By way of example, the court may conclude that particulars of claim disclose no reasonable ground where the facts fail to set out what the claim is about, the facts are incoherent and make no sense, or the facts are coherent but, even if true, do not disclose any legally recognisable claim against the defendant.
The court can also grant summary judgment against the claimant on the grounds that they have no real prospect of succeeding on his claim.
Should I seek legal advice when drafting particulars of claim?
Seeking legal advice when drafting particulars of claim can ensure that your claim includes all of the necessary information as required under the rules, not least that it discloses reasonable grounds for bringing your claim.
Your legal adviser can also advise you as to your prospects of success, and ensure that your particulars of claim accurately sets out the basis of your case, both factually and legally, to ensure that you have the best possible chance of a successful outcome against the defendant.