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How to properly prepare a law suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia


Prepared by Harry Saini, Associate Counsel

· General topics

Starting a law suit properly is important. If you don't describe or fill the necessary information, your claim can get dismissed or you might have to incur additional costs to fix your errors.

A Notice of Civil Claim and a Petition have several components, which include the following:

  • action number;
  • registry information;
  • style of cause;
  • factual basis;
  • legal basis;
  • relief sought; and
  • other information.

We're going to discuss these components and clarify how to properly find and fill this information.


Action number

Don't worry about the action number. When you file your lawsuit with a Supreme Court registry, the Registry will provide you with an action number.

Registry Information

You can file in any Supreme Court registry, but it makes themost sense to file in the Supreme Court registry nearest to you and the defendants, or nearest to where your damage/loss/claim occurred.

You can find a list of the Supreme Court registries here:

Style of Cause

The style of cause describes who is advancing the law suit and who is defending themselves in the law suit. It's extremely important that you name the right parties, because close enough isn't close enough. If you misname a party, even by a letter, you're technically suing the wrong person and your claim might get dismissed. If you have filed a lawsuit and discovered a mistake in the name of the person you are suing, please contact a lawyer immediately to make explore how the mistake may be corrected and what to do next.

If you're preparing a Notice of Civil Claim, you are the Plaintiff(s). The person you're suing is the Defendant(s).

If you're preparing a Petition, you are the Petitioner(s). The person you're suing is the Reapondent(s).

In either scenario, you need the proper name and spelling of the parties. Generally, it's okay if you don't know their middle names.

If you're suing a company, you should pull a company search because companies often do business under another trade name (e.g., 1234567 B.C. Ltd. dba Car Wash World). In this case, you actually need to sue "1234567 B.C. Ltd. dba Car Wash World" rather than just "Car Wash World".

If you don't know how or can't pull a company search, send us an email and we will be happy to help you.

If you don't know the other person's name while preparing the law suit, they can be identified as "Jane and/or John Doe". If there are multiple unknown people, then they'll be identified as "Jane and/or John Doe 1" and "Jane and/or John Doe 2". After learning the unknown person's identity, you'll need to amend your claim to properly name them.

Factual Basis

You describe your claim in the Factual Basis section. You do not describe evidence in this section to explain why you're right and theparty is wrong.

The Factual Basis can easily be broken down into three sections (or more if it make sense):

  • the parties;
  • the background; and
  • the incident and claim.

The parties

Using a 3rd person point of view (i.e., don't use 'you','i', 'me', 'they', etc.), describe the parties. You should also describe the parties relationships to each other.

Here are some templates:

The Plaintiff/Petitioner, __________, is a (describe occupation) person with an address for service in this action of ___________.

The Plaintiff/Petitioner, ___________, is a company duly incorporated pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, and has an address for service in this action of ___________.

The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is a (describe occupation) person with an address for service in this action of ___________.

The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is an unknown person to the Defendant/Respondent, and they have an unknown address for service.

The Defendant/Respondent, __________, is a company duly incorporated pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, and has an address for service in this action of __________.

The Plaintiff contracted the Defendant to supply and providecar wash services in Langley, BC.

The background

The background is useful to lay the foundation of your claim. It also helps the reader, who could be a lawyer or judge, understand your claim. For example, if your claim is against Car Wash World because it damaged your vehicle, you'll need to describe background information relating to the condition of your car before the damage occurred.

In the above example, the background information can be described as such:

On or about July 1, 2022, the Plaintiff purchased a 2022Honda Civic from Honda (the "Civic"). When the Plaintiff purchased the Civic, the Civic was undamaged and unscratched.

Incident and Claim

Here, describe the incident or claim.

Using the above scenario, here is an example of how to describe the incident:

  • On or about July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff drove the Civic to Car Wash World.
  • At approximately 10:50 am on July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff drove the Civic through Car Wash World's automated car wash (the "Car Wash").
  • At approximately 10:57 am on July 2, 2022, the Plaintiff exited the Car Wash and noticed a long scratch on the front hood of the Civic (the "Incident").

Also using the above scenario, here is an example of how to describe your claim:

  • The Incident was caused by the negligence of the Defendant.
  • As a result of the Incident, the Plaintiff has incurred expenses to remove the long scratch on the Civic's hood.

The purpose of describing the claim helps explain the relief you're seeking.

Legal Basis

You're claiming relief from someone else. In this section, you need to explain why that other party has to grant you your relief sought. In other words, explain what the other party did wrong, andwhy you're entitled to relief.

Relief Sought

Use this section to describe what you want through the lawsuit.

The relief sought can include the following:

  • Damages based on breach of contract;
  • Specific performance of a contract ;
  • General damages;
  • Special damages;
  • Court ordered interest pursuant the to Court Ordered Interest Act.

Other Information

The initiating documents for a law suit will request some basic information from you. This includes how the other party can contact you, and where/how the other party can serve you legal documents. Make sure all this information is up-to-date and accurate, otherwise it can cause some unnecessary troubles.


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