The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic discusses a ‘Statement of Claim’.
Statement of Claim Defined
A Statement of Claim is legal notice filed by a person (called the Plaintiff) who seeks a judgement against you in Court. The Plaintiff prepares a Statement of Claim and files it in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Filing the Statement of Claim commences a legal action and it must be promptly served personally upon the other party or parties named as Defendant(s) in the Statement of Claim.
Once the Statement of Claim is received by the Defendant, the Defendant may respond by either:
- (a) Filing a Statement of Defence (this means that the person disputes some or all of the claims in the Statement of Claim); or
- (b) Filing a Demand for Notice (this assumes that the person agrees and admits the allegations in the Statement of Claim & entitles them to receive notice of all future steps taken by the other party).
If a person who receives a Statement of Claim fails to respond within the specified time period, the Plaintiff can proceed to obtain judgment without further notice to the Defendant. The following time limits for response to a Statement of Claim apply in Alberta:
- (a) If a person was served with a Statement of Claim in Alberta, they have 20 days to respond;
- (b) If a person was served with a Statement of Claim in Canada, but outside of Alberta, they have one month to respond; and
- (c) If a person was served with a Statement of Claim outside of Canada, they have two months to respond.
Receiving a Statement of Claim
Upon receiving a Statement of Claim, read the document very carefully to determine exactly what is being requested and alleged. When reading a Statement of Claim, look for the following information:
- (1) The names of the parties in the Statement of Claim. Typically there are two parties stated on the first page. The Plaintiff – who is the person who commenced the action and filed the Statement of Claim and the Defendant – who is the person against whom the claim is made and judgement sought. If there is more than one defendant, they are called Co-defendants.
- (2) The names of any lawyers representing the Plaintiff. This will be on the front page of the Statement of Claim. The lawyer’s address and an address for service will also be provided. The address for service is very important, as it is where all documents responding to the Statement of Claim must be sent.
- (3) The time limit for response to the Statement of Claim. This will be provided on the back page of the Statement of Claim.
- (4) Any issues in dispute between the Plaintiff and Defendant. These will be described in the Statement of Claim. Any facts or evidence supporting the Plaintiff’s claims will also be summarized in the Statement of Claim.
- (5) The remedy or relief the Plaintiff is seeking. This may be in the form of money, or the return of certain property, etc.
Responding to a Statement of Claim
After receiving a Statement of Claim consider contacting a lawyer to understand what your options are. When responding to a Statement of Claim, take the following steps:
- (1) Prepare a chronological summary of the events;
- (2) Prepare a point form written summary of your response to the claims (your side of the story);
- (3) Collect any documentation to assist with the resolution of the disputed claim. This includes any contracts, agreements, notes of conversations or discussions, photos, and repair bills. Make copies of all these documents, as they will need to be given to the Plaintiff;
- (4) Make a list of any witnesses who might support your defence;
- (5) Make a list of other people who may share responsibility or be responsible for the claims entirely. List any actions, events, and documents which show that the claims are the fault of the Plaintiff; and
- (6) List any claims you may have against the Plaintiff.
Consult a lawyer as quickly as possible, as the response to the Statement of Claim has strict time limits applicable. As previously mentioned, if a person was served with the Statement of Claim in Alberta, they have 20 days to respond. If they were served in Canada, but outside of Alberta, they have one month to respond. If they were served outside of Canada, they have two months to respond.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.