AuthorJanet Walker/Lorne Sossin
ProfessionOsgoode Hall Law School, York University/Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
To ensure that the process leading to a continuous oral trial is fair, and
that the parties are prepared to present their ca ses, each party must
be given notice of the case that it has to meet. This proces s begins
at the commencement of the proceeding, or shortly thereafter, with
the exchange of statements of the claim and the defence in documents
called “pleadings.” As was discussed in the previous ch apter, the party
initiating the proceeding — the plaintiff, the applicant, or the peti-
tioner issues an or iginating notice that identif‌ies the parties to the
proceeding, sets out t he facts upon which the claim for relief is ba sed,
and states the relief sought. The defendant or respondent then delivers
a statement of the facts relied upon for its defence. After the parties have
exchanged their pleadings, there is a further opportunity for reply.
In the adversary system, the exchange of pleadings ha s important
functions in the development of the case. Pleadings begin the process
of def‌ining the issues and giving notice to t he opposi ng party of the
case to be met and of the relief being sought. Pleadings set the par-
ameters of the questions that the court must decide and they create
a record of the matter s that w ill be treated as res judicata, or “things
decided,” in subsequent litigation.1 Pleadings also identify the key facts
or events that must be proved for the relief to be granted. This gives the
1 Res judicata is d iscussed in more deta il in Chapter 5.

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