The book “Pleadings without Tears: A Guide to Legal Drafting Under the Civil Procedure Rules” by William Rose [revised & updated by Roger Eastman] we have in our law firm library in its 9th edition when it was published in 2017.

More editions of this highly valued & trusted guide will no doubt ensue.

The book was originally written back in 1990 specifically to address the problem of tears being shed over mistakes being made in Pleadings.

Trust me when I say that despite all the warnings, mistakes in Pleadings continue to this day.

There are good reasons why you don't want to be the party left crying over what could have been!

What are Pleadings?

Whether you are a self-represented litigant in a Tribunal or represent by a Solicitor or a Barrister in a Court or Tribunal the "Pleadings" will be the sum total of all of the documents containing the application or claim, the defence and counterclaim, the reply or answer, and any requests for and responses to further and better particulars.

In the case of an appeal, think of the pleadings as your stated grounds of appeal within your Notice of Appeal, etc. if you get these wrong then your appeal is likely to be dismissed or struck out before you have had the chance to actually submit the details of your appeal to the appeal court.

Why are Pleadings so important in Civil Litigation?

When you hear the member/judge say the words "the problem is in the Pleadings" or words to that effect you might need to have your tissues on hand.

A great analogy is baking a cake and discovering too late that you left out a key ingredient.

There is no guarantee you will be able to amend the Pleadings to fix the problem at the last minute.

You are generally prevented from making the same claim more than once.

Your missed claim may now be subject to the statute of limitations preventing it from being commenced as it is out of time.

An error in the Pleadings can be irreversibly fatal to the outcome of the civil litigation, or substantially impact on the result or the award of costs once the legal proceedings have completed.

A failure to state valid grounds grounds of appeal within a Notice of Appeal may cause your appeal to be dismissed or stuck out, with the potential for cost orders to be made against you for the other parties legal costs (if any) incurred in responding to your incompetent or deficient Notice of Appeal.


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.