How to prepare a Notice of Civil Claim
Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Starting a law suit properly is important. If you don't describe or fill the necessary information, your claim can get dismissed or you might have to incur additional costs to fix your errors. Continue reading to figure out how to properly prepare a law suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
A Notice of Civil Claim and a Petition have several components, which include the following:
style of cause;
relief sought; and
We're going to discuss these components and clarify how to properly find and fill this information.
Don't worry about the action number. When you file your law suit with a Supreme Court registry, the Registry will provide you with an action number.
You can file in any Supreme Court registry, but it makes the most sense to file in the Supreme Court registry nearest to you and the defendants, or nearest to where your damage/loss/claim occurred.
You can find a list of the Supreme Court registries here: https://www.bccourts.ca/supreme_court/court_locations_and_contacts.aspx
Style of Cause
The style of cause describes who is advancing the law suit and who is defending themselves in the law suit. It's extremely important you name the right parties because close enough isn't close enough. If you misname a party, even by a letter, you're technically suing the wrong person and your claim might get dismissed. Don't worry, even if you name the wrong party at firdt instance, you can still amend your law suit later to name the correct person.
If you're preparing a Notice of Civil Claim, you are the Plaintiff(s). The person you're suing is the Defendant(s).
If you're preparing a Petition, you are the Petitioner(s). The person you're suing is the Reapondent(s).
In either scenario, you need the proper name and spelling of the parties. Generally, it's okay if you don't know middle names. This means, if you're suing a company, you should pull a company search because companies often do business under another trade name (e.g., 1234567 B.C. Ltd. dba Car Wash World). In this case, you actually need to sue "1234567 B.C. Ltd. dba Car Wash World" rather than just "Car Wash World".
If you don't know how or can't pull a company search, send us an email and we can help.
If you don't know the other person's name while preparing the law suit, they can be identified as "Jane and/or John Doe". If there are multiple unknown people, then they'll be identified as "Jane and/or John Doe 1" and "Jane and/or John Doe 2". After learning the unknown person's identity, you'll need to amend your claim to properly name them.
You describe your claim in the Factual Basis section. You do not describe evidence in this section to explain why you're right and the party party is wrong.
The Factual Basis can easily be broken down into three sections (or more if it make sense):
the background; and
the incident and claim.
Using a 3rd person point of view (i.e., don't use 'you', 'i', 'me', 'they', etc.), describe the parties. You should also describe the parties relationships to each other.
Here are some templates:
The Plaintiff/Petitioner, __________, is a (describe occupation) person with an address for service in this action of ___________.
The Plaintiff/Petitioner, ___________, is a company duly incorporated pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, and has an address for service in this action of ___________.
The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is a (describe occupation) person with an address for service in this action of ___________.
The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is an unknown person to the Defendant/Respondent, and they have an unknown address for service.
The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is a company duly incorporated pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, and has an address for service in this action of __________.
The Plaintiff contracted the Defendant to supply and provide car wash services in Langley, BC.
The background is useful to lay the foundation of your claim. It also helps the reader, who could be a lawyer or judge, understand your claim. For example, if your claim is against Car Wash World because it damaged your vehicle, you'll need to describe background information relating to the condition of your car before the damage occured.
In the above example, the background information can be described as such:
On or about July 1, 2022, the Plaintiff purchased a 2022 Honda Civic from Honda (the "Civic").
When the Plaintiff purchased the Civic, the Civic was undamaged and unscratched.
Incident and Claim
Here, describe the incident or claim.
Using the above scenario, here is an example of how to describe the incident:
On or about July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff drove the Civic to Car Wash World.
At approximately 10:50 am on July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff drove the Civic through Car Wash World's automated car wash (the "Car Wash").
At approximately 10:57 am on July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff exited the Car Wash and noticed a long scratch on the front hood of the Civic (the "Incident").
Also using the above scenario, here is an example of how to describe your claim:
The Incident was caused by the negligence of the Defendant.
As a result of the Incident, the Plaintiff has incurred expenses to remove the long scratch on the Civic's hood.
The purpose of describing the claim helps explain the relief you're seeking.
You're claiming relief from someone else. In this section, you need to explain why that other party has to grant you your relief sought.
In other words, explain what the other party did wrong, and why you're entitled to relief.
Use this section to describe what you want through the law suit.
The relief sought can include the following:
Damages based on breach of contract;
Specific performance of a contract ;
Court ordered interest pursuant the to Court Ordered Interest Act.
The initiating documents for a law suit will request some basic information from you. This includes how the other party can contact you, and where/how the other party can serve you legal documents. Make sure all this information is up-to-date and accurate, otherwise it can cause some unnecessary troubles.