Claim and statement of claim – Civil
How do I start court action?
You may wish to seek legal advice before you commence legal proceedings to establish if your dispute can be resolved by other avenues e.g. alternative dispute resolution.
To start your court action you need to file at the court registry two copies of the following forms:
A sealed copy will be returned for you to photocopy and serve on the defendants.
How do I serve the documents on the defendants?
Any adult can serve the documents on the other party by personally handing the claim and statement of claim to them at any location.
You can serve the forms on a company by posting the claim and statement of claim to the registered office address or by serving a director of the company personally.
The Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 outline various other ways to serve documents depending on:
- the type of claim
- agreements by legal representatives to accept documents
- any other special agreements.
You should thoroughly investigate the most effective way before you serve the documents.
What happens if they pay me what I am owed or I no longer wish to proceed with the claim?
If your claim is paid, or you no longer wish to proceed, you should notify the court by filing a Form 27 – Notice of discontinuance (UCPR).
Can the other party have a legal representative?
Yes. All parties are entitled to legal representation.
What happens if they dispute the claim?
The other party is required to send you a copy of the forms after they have been filed at the court.
Is the matter listed immediately for a hearing after a defence is filed?
No. It is up to you as the plaintiff to continue your claim. If you wish to respond, you may file a reply within 14 days of receiving the defendant’s defence. There is no set format for a reply but, like all pleadings, it must follow the formal requirements of pleadings as set out in the court rules.
When preparing your reply to the defendant’s defence you may:
- ask the other party for further particulars of their claim or defence if you think they haven’t been specific enough
- find a third party who has documents or information relevant to your action. If this occurs you may need to file and serve a Form 21 - Notice of non-party disclosure (UCPR)
- ask the other party to provide a list of documents in their possession relevant to your claim.
When all parties to the action are ready for trial they must sign and file a Form 48 - Request for trial date (UCPR).