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Part 16 of the Civil Procedure Rules has disposed of pleadings. Instead, they are to be replaced by ‘statements of case’.A cynic (or a lawyer) might think that this is merely a change of terminology – for ‘statement of claim’ now read ‘particulars of claim’. In county courts the first pleading has always been referred to as this, so what else is new?But suspend cynicism until the end of this column. It is our view that the abolition of pleadings is not intended merely to be a change of the label attached to the same documents in order to make them marginally more user-friendly to the uninitiated. On the contrary, statements of case are intended to be radically different, more sensible and practical documents to their predecessors.The language of pleading has always seemed, even to lawyers, to be a particularly silly dialect of mixed English and Latin. Common examples include: “Save that subparagraph 2 of paragraph 1 of the statement of claim is admitted, the remainder of the said paragraph is not admitted,” or: “As to paragraph 2 of the statement of claim, the defendant repeats paragraph 1 of the defence mutatis mutandis.”After 26 April 1999 (CPR day), all statements of case must be verified by a statement of truth – a statement that the party serving the document believes the facts stated in the document are true. The statement of truth can be made by the lawyer on behalf of the client. Additionally, where a claim is made for money, the claim form (the new form of originating process) must contain a statement of value, stating the amount of money claimed and that the claimant expects to recover: (a) not more than £5,000; (b) more than £5,000 but not more than £15,000; or (c) more than £15,000. This is to assist the court in allocating the case to the right track.Other than this, the particulars of claim (which, as now, may but are not required to be contained in or served with the claim form) are to contain essentially the same information as is currently required in pleadings. The claim form must include a concise statement of the nature of the claim and the remedy sought by the claimant. The particulars of claim must include a concise statement of the facts on which the claimant relies and the defence is required to state which of the allegations in the particulars of claim are denied, admitted or which the defendant is able neither to admit nor to deny together with reasons for denials and details of any positive case intended to be advances.There is, however, far greater flexibility than is at present permitted by the court rules or encouraged by convention. Thus, not only is it permissible to attach documents to a statement of case, but certain documents such as written contracts or general conditions of sale incorporated in contracts must be attached to particulars of claim. Whereas, at present, points of law are not supposed to be set out in pleadings, they are permissible in statements of case.It will be interesting to see how lawyers interpret the new rules and the practice direction on statements of case. They can either allow themselves to be constrained by past convention and tradition or allow themselves to make a full presentation of their case, attaching important documents and referring to or attaching important evidence, whether factual or expert, and setting out the legal propositions which they intend to advance.Mark Humphries is a partner and solicitor-advocate at Linklaters. Lucy Dillon is head of the litigation information unit and Eleni Pavlopoulos is a solicitor in the litigation department.

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