Receiving an originating claim (OC)
If you have received a claim document called an originating claim (OC), it means that a party (the claimant) has started a civil claim against you (the defendant).
An OC is a formal document addressed to you, requiring you to attend court if you wish to dispute the claimant's claims.
You should also read the OC to find out:
- Details of the claimant.
- The lawyers representing the claimant (if any).
- The options you can take to respond to the OC.
- The time limit within which you have to respond to the OC.
- The nature of the claimant's claim and relief or remedy they are seeking.
About the civil process begun by OC
This section describes the civil process for the following cases:
- Civil cases begun by OC and heard in the District Court.
- The District Court hears claim sums between $60,000 and $250,000, or up to $500,000 for road traffic accident claims or claims for personal injuries arising out of industrial accidents.
- The District Court can also hear cases where the claimant limits their claim to $250,000.
- Civil cases begun by OC and heard in the General Division of the High Court.
- The General Division of the High Court hears claim sums exceeding $250,000, or, in the case of road traffic accident claims or claims for personal injuries arising out of industrial accidents, sums exceeding $500,000.
- Civil cases begun by OC and heard in the Magistrate's Court.
- Civil cases begun by OC and heard in the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.
Civil process (OC) step-by-step
The following flowchart provides a quick overview of the progress of a typical case. It does not apply where the Court orders the parties to file and exchange affidavits or evidence-in-chief after pleadings have been filed and served but before any production and exchange of documents.
Respond to an OC
Understand the possible ways you can respond to a OC.
Prepare the case for trial
The most common step after the close of pleadings is the discovery and inspection of documents. At discovery, parties are expected to disclose to each other documentary evidence.
The court may direct parties to attend a pre-trial conference relating to the matters arising in the action or proceedings.
File an interlocutory application, if needed
In further preparation of a case for trial, either party may also file interlocutory applications with the court. This is done by filing a summons, which should usually be supported by an affidavit.
Attend court for trial
Both the plaintiff and you or your lawyers (if any) will take turns to present your respective cases to the judge during a civil trial.
File an application, if needed
If you are not satisfied with the court's judgment or decision after the trial, you may file an appeal.
You may also take steps to enforce an order or judgment if the plaintiff does not comply with it.
Attend court for post-trial matters
The court will decide the amount of costs such as fees, charges, disbursements, expenses and remuneration payable between parties after court proceedings conclude.