A written statement of the initiating litigant, called a plaintiff, in which he/she must state their case: the facts on which they intend to rely upon and the relief they seek, to the defendant and for the public record, for which they seek a civil trial and judicial determination.
A document that must be filed with the Court and copied onto the defendant and in which the plaintiff must set out the facts which support his case, usually in numbered paragraphs. the level of detail is a matter of debate amongst barristers; the more experienced ones seeming to prefer succinctness, with others preferring to fully disclose the facts to be transparent and so as to not risk having the Court later discourage any allegations they wish to lead at trial on the basis that they were not alleged in the statement of claim.
In Gevaert v. Arbuckle, 1998, reported at 163 DLR 4th 762, the Ontario Court stated the purpose of a statement of claim:
"A valid Statement of Claim must disclose a presently existing, legally recognized claim against the Defendant. It must say: 'I, Plaintiff, have a claim against you, Defendant.'"
As the Alberta Rules of Court stipulate at ¶5(1)(r), a statement of claim is the document "by which a plaintiff commences his action" (and the statement of defence, the document "by which a defendant answers the plaintiff’s statement of claim").
A statement of claim is the first - or one of the first - steps in engaging the justice system to resolve a dispute by trial.
A statement of claim must be delivered upon the defendant.
Statement of claims are critical documents in the trial process, and in some cases, the failure of alleging certain facts relevant or necessary to the relief claimed can be fatal or at the very least, disappoint someone you don't want to disappoint: the trial judge.
The answer to the statement of claim is the defendant's statement of defence.