Bruce v Odhams Press Ltd: CA 1936

The statement of claim must plead the necessary facts for the purpose of formulating a complete cause of action. The particulars of claim inform the opposing party of the case it has to meet so that it may prepare for trial and avoid the expense in preparing a case that may never be put. Scott LJ said: ‘The cardinal provision in r. 4 is that the statement of claim must state the material facts. The word ‘material’ means necessary for the purpose of formulating a complete cause of action; and if any one ‘material’ fact is omitted, the statement of claim is bad; it is ‘demurrable’ in the old phraseology, and in the new is liable to be ‘struck out’ under Order XXV, r. 4: see Philipps v. Philipps 4 QBD 127; or ‘a further and better statement of claim’ may be ordered under Order XIX, r. 7.
The function of ‘particulars’ under r. 6 is quite different. They are not to be used in order to fill material gaps in a demurrable statement of claim – gaps which ought to have been filled by appropriate statements of the various material facts which together constitute the plaintiff’s cause of action. The use of particulars is intended to meet a further and quite separate requirement of pleading, imposed in fairness and justice to the defendant. Their function is to fill in the picture of the plaintiff’s cause of action with information sufficiently detailed to put the defendant on his guard as to the case he has to meet and to enable him to prepare for trial. Consequently in strictness particulars cannot cure a bad statement of claim. But in practice it is often difficult to distinguish between a ‘material fact’ and a ‘particular’ piece of information which it is reasonable to give the defendant in order to tell him the case he has to meet; hence in the nature of things there is often overlapping. And the practice of sometimes putting particulars into the statement of claim and sometimes delivering them afterwards either voluntarily, or upon request or order, without any reflection as to the true legal ground upon which they are to be given has become so common that it has tended to obscure the very real distinction between them.’


Scott LJ


[1936] 1 KB 697

Cited by:

CitedBudu v The British Broadcasting Corporation QBD 23-Mar-2010
The defendant sought to strike out the claimant’s action in defamation. It had reported that the police had withdrawn an employment offer to claimant after doubting his immigration status.
Held: The claims should be struck out. The articles . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.405998