Is further information needed?

The procedure for a litigant to ask the opposing party to provide clarification about matters that are in dispute within those proceedings can be found in Part 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

These requests are usually made when there are gaps in information about an opponent’s case or their defence and those gaps are causing you difficulty in understanding the case that you need to meet. Further, it could also be a useful tool to uncover inconsistencies in your opponent’s case.

Both Claimants and Defendants can make such requests in claims that are not allocated to the Small Claims Track.


However, you do not have free rein to ask for anything; there are limitations as to what requests can be made. You will be restricted by CPR Rule 18.1(1), which states:


(1) The court may at any time order a party to –

(a) clarify any matter which is in dispute in the proceedings; or

(b) give additional information in relation to any such matter,

whether or not the matter is contained or referred to in a statement of case.

You will also be restricted by CPR Practice Direction 18.2 paragraph 1.2, which states:

1.2  A Request should be concise and strictly confined to matters which are reasonably necessary and proportionate to enable the first party to prepare his own case or to understand the case he has to meet.

There is a step that must be taken before any application is made to the court, in the form of a preliminary request. The formalities of such preliminary request are set out in CPR Practice Direction 18, as follows (non-exhaustive):

  • The request must be in writing;
  • The request must state a date by which the response should be served;
  • Such response date must allow a reasonable time to respond;
  • The request must be made in a single comprehensive document
  • A request may be made by letter if the text of the request is brief, otherwise it should be made in a separate document;
  • If in a letter, the request should state that it contains a request under Part 18 and deal with no other matters than the request;
  • A request must:

(a) be headed with the name of the court and the title and number of the claim,

(b) in its heading state that it is a Request made under Part 18, identify the first party and the second party and state the date on which it is made,

(c) set out in a separate numbered paragraph each request for information or clarification,

(d) where a Request relates to a document, identify that document and (if relevant) the paragraph or words to which it relates,

(e) state the date by which the first party expects a response to the Request.

An answered request for further information can aid in narrowing the issues between the parties which in turn can help to reduce costs and ultimately, assist the parties in complying with the overriding objective.

If no such response is received to a preliminary request for further information, the requesting party will need to make an application to the court to compel the other party to provide what has been requested. This application, of course, can be opposed and it will then be for the court to determine, likely at a hearing, whether such requests comply with the rules and whether the information must be given.

Should you require any assistance in relation to proceedings you are involved in, please contact our commercial litigation team here.


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