Action v. Application

Should the Superior Court of Justice be the appropriate venue to hear your dispute, it is important to note that there are two different types of proceedings that can be started: Actions and Applications.

An Action is a stereotypical lawsuit, in which an award of money for damages (usually arising from a breach of contract or an injury sustained by, or wrong done onto, another) is the remedy being sought by the person who starts the proceeding. The party who starts the Action is called the "Plaintiff" and the party who is being sued is the "Defendant". The final court ruling (termed a "Judgment") comes after a trial, where witnesses give oral testimony and are subject to cross-examination in open court. A jury or judge may decide the facts which lead to the Judgment, depending on whether or not a "jury notice" was filed.

The other type of proceeding, an Application, is usually commenced to obtain some sort of remedy other than money damages, such as an Order determining or declaring what the rights or obligations of the parties are in a given situation, issues arising from estate disputes, injunctions, possession or control of property, etc. Money issues may be an integral part of an Application. The person starting the Application is termed the "Applicant" and the opposing party is the "Respondent." Evidence is presented by way of sworn affidavits which are filed with the court, rather than oral testimony. These affidavits often have documents attached as "Exhibits", and a person who makes such an affidavit may also be cross-examined on it, before a court reporter. The final court ruling comes after the Application is argued before a judge on the basis of the written documents before the court, including affidavits, exhibits and transcripts of the cross-examinations.