1. The Rules of Pleadings are found in Order 2 Rule 3 it lays down fundamental rules of pleading from which we come up with the Rules of Pleadings. Rule 3 says subject to the provisions …
Principles emerging from Order 2.
(i) Pleadings should state facts and not law;
(ii) Facts stated should be material facts and material facts only;
(iii) Pleadings should not state the evidence;
(iv) The facts should be stated in a concise form;
(v) There are certain matters that must be specifically pleaded;
(vi) There are matters that need not be pleaded;
(vii) Documents and conversations ought to be pleaded;
(viii) Pleadings can contain alternative and inconsistent prayers;
(ix) Pleadings must be signed and verified.
1. PLAIN FACTS NOT LAW:
It is the duty of the parties to state the facts of the case and it is the duty of the court to apply the law to those facts e.g. there is a distinction between raising a point of law and pleading law. Raising a point of law is allowed pleading the law is not allowed. For example suppose one says that ‘collision was caused by the negligence of the defendant?’ it would be better to say for instance that ‘the plaintiff’s suit is based or brought under the Fatal Accidents Act’ when you plead the law, you are making a conclusion of the law.
2. MATERIAL FACTS:
The Act does not define material facts but material facts mean all facts upon which the Plaintiff’s cause of action or the defendant’s defence depends on. In other words, it is all those facts that must be proved in order to establish the Plaintiff’s right or in order for the defendant’s defence to succeed. Even facts that shed some light are material facts.
What happens when you don’t plead material facts? The most direct consequence is that you cannot call evidence at the time of the trial to prove that fact. The other consequence is that the court cannot make a decision on a fact not in issue. But if you omit a material fact, you can amend.
3. PLEADING SHOULD NOT STATE EVIDENCE:
It is obvious to know what the evidence is but there are certain facts that are also evidence. We need to distinguish evidence of facts from the facts themselves. The pleadings should contain material facts that will need to be proved and not the facts by which issues will be proved. There are 2 types of facts.
(i) Facta Probanda – these are facts that require to be proved
(ii) Facta Probantia – these are facts of proof i.e. they are in evidence.
For instance suppose one says, “The Defendant was driving too fast.” And the other one says, “the defendant was driving too fast such that the speedometer got stuck at 100 miles per hour. The fact that the speedometer was stuck at 100 miles per hour is evidence; it is a fact of proof. What you are supposed to say is the 1st one that the defendant was driving too fast.
In an election petition, it is contrary to election law to ferry voters. Suppose you say that Mr. X was ferrying voters to the poll station or “Motor Vehicle Registration Number x,y,z was ferrying people to the poll station? All you need to say is that Mr. X was ferrying voters to the poll station.
4. CONCISE FORM:
Pleadings must always be drafted with brevity and precision. Brief as the case may permit. Be coherent even when you are brief. Pleadings must be brief and numbered in order.
5. MATTERS, WHICH NEED NOT BE PLEADED:
The rules are that a matter that is presumed by law does not have to be pleaded unless specifically denied by the other side.
6. DOCUMENTS & CONVERSATION:
Whenever you make reference in your pleadings that deal with certain conversation of documents, they must be specifically pleaded. If you are making a claim to land, you are making reference to a specific document which must be so properly described that it can be capable of being identified.
If you are referring to conversation, you will quote the conversation, state it and paraphrase it. It has to be material.
7. MATTERS WHICH MUST BE SPECIFICALLY PLEADED & PARTICULARS GIVEN
If a party is relying on misrepresentation or fraud, then they must plead misrepresentation and particulars of that misrepresentation. Even when you plead negligence, you have to plead the particulars of negligence for instance failure by an employer to provide protective clothing for factory workers or failure to fence off an unsafe area. In libel cases the words that are said to be defamatory must be pleaded and the particulars of the words that constitute the libel must be pleaded. In general, damages musts be pleaded.
8. ALTERNATIVE & INCONSISTENT PRAYERS
Alternative means a choice between 2 things. In civil litigation, you are allowed to tell the court that I am pleading for (a) and in the alternative, I am pleading for (b). This is to prevent a 2nd litigation. You can have alternative and inconsistent pleadings but they must be reconcilable.
9. SIGNING & VERIFICATION:
Pleadings must be signed and verified by the agent of the party or the party themselves. Order 4 Rule 1 (f) which states as follows: -
(f) An averment that there is no other suit pending, and that there have been no previous proceedings, in any court between the plaintiff and the defendant over the same subject matter and that the cause of action relates to the plaintiff named in the plaint.”;
(2) The Plaint shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn by the plaintiff verifying the correctness of the averments contained in rule 1(1)(f) above.
Every plaint must contain
1. Description of Court
2. Case number
3. Names of the parties
4. Description and place of residence or the Plaintiff or his business address;
5. A similar description of the Defendant including address of service
6. If it is a minor the plaint should contain a statement to that effect.
7. It should contain facts constituting cause of action
8. Facts showing that the court has jurisdiction;
9. The players of relief sought;
10. The amount if any
11. Value of the subject matter
12. Date of the plaint
13. Signature of the Plaintiff or his agent;
14. Whenever it is for the recovery of money precise amount must be stated;
15. Whenever your plaint refers to a document, it must have an accurate description of that item;