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Declaratory Relief

What is It?

Typically, in court, one party is asking the court to award him money or compel another party to do something (injunctive relief).  But, at times, a party may simply ask the court to "declare" what a contract means.  This is called an action for declaratory relief.  It is a law suit, typically coupled with a claim for breach of an agreement, in the event that the court sides with the party filing the action.

A party may seek declaratory relief without also asking for money damages, but the party doing so waives the right to a jury trial, unless demanded pursuant to Rule 1007.1. See Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1601(b).  Here is the operative rule:

Action for Declaratory Relief Alone. Jury Trial. Waiver.

(a)  A plaintiff seeking only declaratory relief shall commence an action by filing a complaint captioned ‘‘Action for Declaratory Judgment.’’ The practice and procedure shall follow, as nearly as may be, the rules governing the civil action.

(b)  If the right to trial by jury of disputed issues of fact exists in such an action, it shall be deemed waived unless demanded in the time and manner provided by Rule 1007.1.


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