Sometimes a Statement of Claim will refer to dates, events or conversations that you don't recognise or remember. It may refer to documents that you are not sure if you have seen or received. It may have little or no details about the debt or the goods in question. Without this information it may be hard to work out if you do owe money or how much you owe, or what goods are being claimed. It will also be hard to prepare your Defence form if you decide to defend the claim.
You can write to the plaintiff and ask them for more information. This is known as 'a request for further and better particulars'. You should set out your request for further and better particulars as a series of numbered questions. This will make it easier for the plaintiff to respond. The particulars given by the plaintiff will become part of their claim against you.
Remember that the plaintiff can apply for a default judgment against you if you don't file a Defence within 28 days of being served with the Statement of Claim. If you do make a request for further and better particulars you should also ask the plaintiff not to apply for default judgment until after they have provided the information you have requested and you have had a chance to consider it.
Keep a copy of the letter requesting more information.
If the plaintiff does not reply or refuses to give you further and better particulars, you should file a Defence if you want to defend the claim. Once you have filed your Defence, the case will be listed at the court for Pre Trial Review. At the Pre Trial Review, you can ask the court to order the plaintiff to provide the particulars to you. The court is unlikely to make this order unless you have already made a written request for particulars. You can show the court a copy of your letter requesting particulars.
For more information, see
Sample letter asking for further and better particulars after receiving Statement of Claim.
If the plaintiff applies for default judgment against you, before responding to your request for more information, you can use the letter to support an application to have the judgment set aside. For more information, see
Applying to set aside default judgment.
If the claim is about goods, see Setting aside default judgment in the 'Recovery of goods' section of this website first.
If you are not sure how to respond to a Statement of Claim you should get
If you do not think you need to ask the plaintiff for further and better particulars but later find out that you need more information, or the plaintiff does not answer your request, you can file your Defence and then ask the plaintiff for further and better particulars. You may then be able to amend your Defence after you get answers to your request for further information.
For more information, see Sample Amended Defence.
If the claim is about a car accident and you need to amend your Defence, see
Sample Amended Defence - car accidents.