LITIGATION Notices for Particulars: What you are Entitled to and What you are Not
In any action where you are unsure of the case that the other party is going to make at trial, you may serve your opponent with a ‘Notice for Particulars’.
This is a list of questions that arise from your opponent’s legal pleadings which they are required to reply to.
Though a useful piece of artillery in your legal armoury, over time the Notice for Particulars has evolved into a tactic to frustrate an opponent by delivering pages of wide-ranging questions to illicit information and evidence one is otherwise not entitled to.
Especially in personal injuries actions, Defendants have adopted the practice of serving pages of standardised Notices for Particulars. Such tactics are considered to be oppressive and have received much judicial criticism over the years.
Here are three of the key principles that apply to Notices for Particulars:
(i) The particulars are limited to matters in the pleadings. In personal injuries actions, this means the other side can only ask you about issues raised in your Personal Injuries Summons or Defence.
(ii) The particulars are only meant to clarify issues between the parties so that they know the case they have to meet. If a party knows the broad outline of the case they are to meet, further particulars will not be necessary.
(iii) Particulars should also not be given when the other party is seeking to find out details of the evidence that is to be relied on at trial.
Examples of regular particulars asked for (but which should not be replied to) include requests for copies of documents or details of witnesses.
Even though the Courts have regularly stated that such items are outside the scope of particulars, they are still regularly asked for by practitioners in personal injuries actions.
Despite this judicial criticism, this practice does not look like it will reform any time soon.