In pleadings, particulars give substance and detail to a claim or defend a position. Particulars define the scope of evidence to be put forth at trial, giving the opposite party sufficient information regarding the nature of the evidence.
Difference Between Pleadings and Particulars
Particulars differ from pleadings as they give specificity and background to general assertions made in the body of the pleading. Pleadings are formal court documents that ‘plead’ a case before the court either by claiming or defending an action. Pleadings outline a plaintiff’s claim and a defendant’s response to the claim whilst particulars are the relevant facts and evidence to prove or defend those claims.
An Example of Pleadings and Particulars
It may be asserted in the pleadings that the defendant, Business A, breached their contract with Business B by failing to pay Business B $2,000 in interest every month.
The particulars could be in the form of a contract, specifying that Clause 11.5 of the Loan Agreement, which stipulates that Business A has to pay Business B $2,000 in interest every month, has been breached due to Business A’s failure to pay the interest.
Purpose of Particulars
Particulars have several purposes:
- To limit the generality of pleadings by defining the scope of evidence to be used at trial.
- To inform each party of the matters to be discussed at trial to allow the parties to prepare accordingly.
- To prevent unpleasant or unfair surprises for either party at trial.
- To enable the court process to run smoothly by ensuring the case stays within the bounds of matters pleaded, and ensuring parties only raise genuine claims. This also saves time and costs for all parties involved.
Information Included in Particulars
The information that must be included in particulars is any information that clarifies the claim put forth or defends the claim. The information included in particulars can be in the form of contracts, certain documents, emails, monetary amounts, fax or minutes, for example.
Missing or Insufficient Particulars
If the particulars provided by the plaintiff are too general or vague and do not have enough detail to enable the defendant to be aware of the exact claims made, the defendant may request ‘further and better particulars’. If this request is granted by the court, the other side must provide more detail for the claims put forth. If the other party can not provide more detail for those claims, they must remove the claims.
Particulars of a pleading serve the essential function of giving substance and detail to a claim, or defending a position in legal proceedings. Particulars are important for several reasons including defining the scope of evidence to be used at trial which allows the parties to prepare accordingly. Particulars also prevent unpleasant or unfair surprises for either party at trial and enable the court process to run smoothly.
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