How to file a Statement of Claim?
Proceedings in a court of law can be complicated. As such, you may wish to seek legal advice. For every rule, there are a variety of exceptions and particular applications to specific facts. There are also many ways to seek relief. All these instances cannot be put into this document. The following information is for guidance only. The Registry cannot give legal advice.
Rules 169 to 299 of Part 4 of the Federal Courts Rules (and corresponding forms) set out what is required to proceed with an action. If you decide you want to pursue your case in the Federal Court, as permitted either by the Federal Courts Act or another Act of Parliament, your first step will be to commence an action by filing a Statement of Claim (form 171A).
What is required to file a statement of claim?
Please note that rules 2 and 66(2)(c) of the Federal Courts Rules require that any document prepared for use in a proceeding before the Federal Courts must contain either the address of the solicitor representing you or, if you are not represented by a solicitor, an address for service in Canada (as defined in rule 2). This is the address to which all documents and Orders will be sent.
- You must specify the following in your statement of claim (see rule 182):
- the nature of any damages claimed;
- where monetary relief is claimed, whether the amount claimed exceeds $50,000.00;
- the value of any property sought to be recovered;
- any other specific relief being claimed; and
- whether you are proceeding with the claim as a simplified action.
Please note that if you are proceeding with a simplified action, your statement of claim as well as any other pleadings must be headed with the words "Simplified Action" above the style of cause (see rules 292 - 299).
- You must pay the applicable filing fee (see Tariff A). The filing fee depends on the type of action, as follows:
- $2.00 for claims directed solely against Her Majesty the Queen (see s. 48 of the Federal Courts Act, Schedule );
- $50.00 for a simplified action, where the only relief claimed is monetary and each claim is $50,000.00 or less;
- $150.00 for any other action
The fee must be paid at the time of filing your statement of claim by using a valid VISA, MasterCard or American Express credit card or by cash, debit, a personal cheque or a money order. When paying by personal cheque or money order, it must be made payable to The Receiver General of Canada.
- You must deliver to the Registry one original and as many copies of your statement of claim as you will need to serve (see paragraphs 4 and 5 below). The Registry will certify these copies of your statement of claim by stamping them. The Registry will keep the original of your statement of claim and will return the certified copies to you.
Once I have filed my Statement of Claim, is there anything else I need to do?
Yes. There are many steps you need to take after you have filed your statement of claim and it has been issued by the Registry. You are responsible for taking these steps within the time limits provided by the Federal Courts Rules. Some of these steps are explained below, but please note that there may be other important steps that you may need to take that are not set out herein.
You must serve a certified copy of your statement of claim on all defendants within 60 days of filing it with the Registry (see rule 203(1)). Since a statement of claim is an originating document, you must serve it in person by delivering a certified copy of your statement of claim to all defendant(s) named in the statement of claim (see rules 63(1) and 127). It is your responsibility to identify the defendant(s) and to serve them. For methods of personal service, see rules 128 to 135.
Personal service on the Crown, the Attorney General of Canada or any other Minister of the Crown, of your Statement of Claim (but of no other document you may need to serve) will be done by the Registry pursuant to rule 133. For this, the Registry will need you to provide them with two additional copies of your statement of claim.
You must file proof of service of your statement of claim upon the defendant(s) with the Registry, within the following delay after serving a certified copy of it on the defendant(s), (see rules 203(2) and 146):
- 30 days, if the defendant(s) is served in Canada;
- 40 days, if the defendant(s) is served in the United States; and
- 60 days, if the defendant(s) is served outside Canada and the United States.
The defendant(s) may then serve on you and file with the Registry, a statement of defence, within the delay set out in Rule 204.
You may serve and file a reply within 10 days of being served with the statement of defence (see rule 205 and form 171C).
Once pleadings are closed, the Rules provide for the obligation of both parties to disclose information to the other by way of affidavits of documents (see rules 222 - 233), and for the right of each party to examine a representative of the other party on discovery (see rules 234 – 248; also see rules 295 – 296 in respect of a simplified action).
After the close of pleadings when you can declare that you have completed all discoveries to which you are entitled, you must serve and file a requisition for a pre-trial conference, together with a pre-trial conference memorandum (see rules 258(2) and 258(3) and form 258). Within your requisition, you will be required to certify that settlement discussions have taken place with the defendant(s). You must also pay, pursuant to Tariff A, 1. (2)(d), a filing fee of $100.00 in a simplified action or $300.00 for any other action.
Note: You cannot proceed with a requisition for pre-trial conference if you are in default of the rules or an order of the Court (see rule 258(1)).
- The Court will then fix a time and place for a pre-trial conference (see rule 259). A notice of pre-trial conference will be sent to you and to the defendant(s) by the Registry at least 30 days before the date fixed for the conference (see rule 261).
When you receive the notice of pre-trial conference, you will be required to confirm your attendance by contacting the Registry (a contact name and telephone number will be set out in the notice of pre-trial conference).
At the pre-trial conference, you must be prepared to address various issues in relation to your claim, such as the possibility of settlement of any or all of the issues; the amount of damages; the estimated duration of the trial; and suitable dates for a trial, along with other things (for a complete list, see rule 263).
Either a judge or prothonotary (both are Federal Court judicial officers) will conduct the pre-trial conference and may make an order with respect to any further steps which might need to be taken by you or the defendant(s). If the judge or prothonotary is satisfied that your case is ready for trial, a date and place for the trial of your action (claim) will then be set (see rules 264 and 265).
Can I represent myself?
Yes. Pursuant to rule 119, an individual may act in person or be represented by a lawyer in a proceeding. This means you may represent yourself in this matter; however, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer to assist you. Companies, associations or groups of people must be represented by a lawyer (see rule 120).
Please read the information about Registry Services to Assist Self-Represented Litigants indicating what Federal Court Registry staff can and cannot do to help you prepare your case, should you decide to proceed.
Are there any other fees I will need to pay?
The fees most commonly charged are set out in items 2 and 10 above. Other Court services may require the payment of a fee. The complete list of registry fees is contained in Tariff A. It is also recommended that you read Part 11 of the Federal Courts Rules, which deals with the awarding of costs between the parties and the determination of which party must pay the other’s costs, related to the proceeding.Can I deal with any office of the Federal Court?
Yes. You may deal with the office of the Registry of the Federal Courts which is most convenient to you. A list of the Federal Court office locations, addresses and phone numbers is accessible at www.fct-cf.gc.ca under “Contact Us - Registry Contact”.