A model application

Litigants and new lawyers are often troubled by the vast number of different situations that arise in the process of litigation.

It is helpful to remember that, really, there are only a handful of different situations, just an infinite number of slight variations.

One of the most common is asking the tribunal to do or order something. This might be ordering a document be disclosed; a question answered; a hearing postponed or a witness ordered to attend. But all these situations follow a common pattern. What follows is a standard template for applying for almost anything.

Opening formalities

Start with the obvious. Write the tribunal’s address and the date, just as you would in any letter.

You will also need to include the case number and, if you work for an organisation, any internal reference of yours.

Then open with a salutation. “Dear Sir or Madam” is standard.

It is common to then title the document. This should contain the party names; the nature of the application and, if the application is urgent, the word urgent. For example:

URGENT: Smith v Jones – application to postpone

Do not say the application is urgent unless it is. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by fibbing.

Guidance for dealing with the application

In nine cases out of ten, this is a standard piece of rubric:

I would be grateful if you would put the following application before a Judge.

If there is something unusual about the way in which the application should be dealt with, this is the place to mention it. For example, if a particular Judge is dealing with the case, you should ask the application to go before him. Similarly, if you are putting the application in writing, but expect it to be dealt with at an upcoming hearing, it is sensible to say so.

Bear in mind, however, that you cannot control how the tribunal deals with your application. That is up to them. You can only make a request or suggestion.

If you have said your application is urgent this is the place to explain why.

What you are asking for

At this point, say what it is that you are asking the tribunal to do.

The tribunal’s authority

Then indicate why the tribunal is able to do what you ask.

This is often unnecessary. Orders for discovery, or to postpone, are so routine that no issue is likely to arise about the tribunal’s powers. But if your application is more unusual, it is sensible to make it clear where the tribunal’s power comes from.

Why the tribunal should do it

This is likely to be the longest section. Write down all the reasons that the tribunal should do what you ask.

This section will often also include a discussion of what legal test the tribunal should use to decide the application. For example, if you are making an application to amend the claim. You might set out the guidance in Selkent about when such applications should be granted. Then explain why you meet that test.

Closing formalities

The tribunal rules require that all applications explain how the order will “assist the tribunal or chairman in dealing with the proceedings efficiently and fairly”. This should have been covered in your explanation for why the tribunal should do what you want. But it is conventional to state it explicity by writing something like:

For the reasons set out above, [this order] will assist the tribunal in dealing with the case efficiently and fairly.

The rules also require that you set out the otherside’s right to respond to the application:

This letter is copied to the respondent. The Respondent should not that if it objects to the application, it must write to the tribunal within seven days of receiving this letter, or before the date of the hearing (whichever date is the earlier) explaining the reasons for its objection , and should copy that letter to me. Rule 11 of the Procedural Rules has been complied with in relation to this application.

Note that there is an exception to this rule. If you are applying for a witness order, you do not have to inform the other side (although you can if you want).

Finally, sign the letter and post / fax / email it to the tribunal (and the respondent).

Oral applications

Applications at a hearing follow a very similar pattern. Say what you want and why the tribunal should agree.

One Reply to “A model application”

  1. Thank you – I need assistance asa and this was so helpful, I hope the judge sees fit to consider my proposal.
    Thank you

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