Court may strike a pleading if:
- It discloses no reasonable claim or defence
- Is unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous, or vexatious
- It may prejudice, embarrass, or delay the fair trial or hearing of the proceeding or
- It is otherwise an abuse of the process of the Court
This is a high bar to clear. Successful applications to strike are rare. They will only be granted where it is “plain and obvious” the pleading cannot stand. In essence, the Court has to be satisfied that the claim is so fundamentally flawed that it cannot be left.
In an application to strike, the Court assumes that all the facts in the pleading are true. You cannot therefore succeed on an application to strike merely because you know one of the facts alleged to be untrue.The Court can strike pleadings completely, or with “leave to amend”.
Striking “with leave to amend” means that the Court will give the party whose pleadings were struck some period of time to fix the problem. This is often done when self-represented litigants have their pleadings struck.
If you are facing an application to strike your pleadings, it may be very wise to seek legal help. The consequences of losing an application to strike are serious. Further, a lawyer may be able to help you fix any problem with your claim or defence so you can get past the strike out application. For more information on finding a lawyer, see Get Help.
If you are facing an application to strike your pleadings, you might consider if you can amend your pleading to make it more clear. Make sure that all of the facts which are important to your case are clearly set out. Read Starting a Claim and Responding to a Claim, and consider if you can improve on your pleading. If you are facing an application to strike, you will want to be able to explain to the Court how you might fix any problems. If the Court agrees that your claim or defence could be fixed, they may give you leave to amend your pleadings rather than striking it entirely.