Whenever you want something from the court, you write a letter to it. The letter has a specialized format, namely a caption at the top and particular spacing, etc., all according to the court rules. Letters to the court have special names. They are called complaints, actions, petitions, motions, briefs, points & authorities, proof of service, etc.
Writing a letter to a court is always with a purpose. Why write the letter if you don’t want to accomplish something? The first letter to the court is typically called a complaint, action, or petition. Later letters are usually called motions, appeals, requests.
In an action at law all elements are present. In a complaint in equity, the facts and law are missing and are provided later. Typically, in a complaint in equity the actual facts are withheld and presented later in discovery, a deposition, or at trial. But ultimately, all elements must be present before a court can issue a judgment.
An action at law could consist of the following:
- Identification of parties and choice of forum
- Summary of the case
- Law of the case
- Cause of action (One of 11 common law claims you’re making against the defendant)
- Duty of defendant (law)
- Breach of Duty
- Proposed Judgment (usually called the “Prayer”)ADDITIONAL PAPERS THAT GO WITH ACTION:
- Summons (issued by the clerk)
- Proof of service (a form usually included with the summons)
A motion to move the court to do something could consist of the following:
- Notice of Motion
- Facts (affidavit or declaration)
- Law of the case
- Brief (Points& Authorities)
- Point(s) being made
- Authorities supporting the jurisdiction, applicable law
- Argument in support of the point (This is where you connect all the law, facts, and reasoning
- Proof of service (so the court knows who got a copy)
- Proposed Order ready for signature
(so the court won’t have to type it if granted)
(Normally attorneys may not submit order unless so instructed by the court).