Tap to Read ➤

What is Cause of Action?

Cause of action is a legal term for judicial relief against offending party. Read to know the meaning and it's use to file lawsuit.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Aug 22, 2020
When an aggrieved party needs to file a civil or criminal lawsuit in the court of law, he or she needs to present a cause of action. On the basis of this, judicial action will be taken to provide relief to the aggrieved party or plaintiff. Under the English Law, this legal document is known as the Statement of Claim, and a Complaint in the U.S.
The legal definition is "The basis of a lawsuit that is founded on legal grounds and alleged facts which, if proved, would constitute all the 'elements' required by statute."

What is it?

It is a technical law term used to explain facts that help give rise to a claim that can be put forth in a court. When someone's legal rights are offended by any person or organization, the aggrieved party has a right to sue. With the help of this legal mechanism, a plaintiff needs to prove all the points covered that helps take the offending party to court.
It comes from either a statute passed by the parliament or from a common law. Judges, over time, form a common law based on similar cases bought to them in the court of law. These common laws help in development of cause of action required for different cases that need court action.
The type will help determine which court will hear one's case, i.e., civil or criminal court. Without a valid basis, no court will hear a dispute or pass a decision. The claim will be dismissed and the person filing the case may be asked to pay a fine.

What is the Need?

One needs a valid cause of action as there are many people who may suffer from a loss or injury. Everyone will seek legal action, and people will be suing anyone and everyone according to their whims and fancies. Thus, the legal system has developed conditions for different cases that need to follow this basis, for a matter to be taken up for a hearing.


There are different types under which a plaintiff can plead or allege facts in his/her complaint. This helps in pleading an initiation of a lawsuit. The legal theory―the legal wrong suffered by the plaintiff, and the remedy―the relief asked by the plaintiff to the court, is covered by the course of action.
A person may seek judicial relief on multiple causes of action depending on the different circumstances.

➽ Statutory causes of action
➽ Torts like assault, battery, invasion of privacy, negligence, slander, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress
➽ Contract-based action
➽ Equity suits like unjust enrichment and quantum meruit
The plaintiff needs to prove the points called the 'elements' mentioned in the same. This will help in winning the case by the plaintiff. If there is insufficient proof to support the element of claim, the court may dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, after the opposing party moves a motion.
The defendant, needs to 'Answer' the complaints filed. He can admit, deny, or provide insufficient details as a response. He may provide counterclaim answers know as 'Counterclaim Plaintiff' against the plaintiff, along with a course of action. On the proof given by the plaintiff, and the answers received from the defendant, the court will pass a judgment.
A Complaint is the first step to initiate a legal process. If you have any doubts, you may seek professional legal advice from an attorney. Hope this must have helped cover most of your doubts related to the statement of claim.