Defences

A defence should address the issues mentioned in the particulars of claim. Any denial of an allegation has to be backed up by valid arguments.

Part 16 of the CPR states what should be included in a defence:

Content of defence

16.5

(1) In his defence, the defendant must state –

(a) which of the allegations in the particulars of claim he denies;

(b) which allegations he is unable to admit or deny, but which he requires the claimant to prove; and

(c) which allegations he admits.

Denials are use for any facts that would have been within your knowledge or where you have an alternative version of events. Any denial must be backed up by reasons in your defence and any alternative version of events should be stated in the defence. Facts which are admitted are not an issue and evidence of them is not required. There may be allegations that the you cannot admit or deny, in which case the claimant will be required to prove the allegation.

(2) Where the defendant denies an allegation –

(a) he must state his reasons for doing so; and

(b) if he intends to put forward a different version of events from that given by the claimant, he must state his own version.

(3) A defendant who –

(a) fails to deal with an allegation; but

(b) has set out in his defence the nature of his case in relation to the issue to which that allegation is relevant,

shall be taken to require that allegation to be proved.

The amount of money claimed is deemed to be disputed. If the value of the claim is disputed, the defendant must say why and give an estimated value.

(4) Where the claim includes a money claim, a defendant shall be taken to require that any allegation relating to the amount of money claimed be proved unless he expressly admits the allegation.

(5) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), a defendant who fails to deal with an allegation shall be taken to admit that allegation.

(6) If the defendant disputes the claimant’s statement of value under rule 16.3 he must –

(a) state why he disputes it; and

(b) if he is able, give his own statement of the value of the claim.

A defence must set out any matter which raises issues not included in the particulars of claim, for example, the issues of limitation (when a debt is statute barred under the Limitation Act) or fraud.

In the case of limitation, statute barred is an absolute defence, and all that’s required is to state that fact in your defence.

Amending a defence

In some cases, it may be necessary to amend your defence. This is covered by CPR 17.1.

Amendments to statements of case

17.1

(1) A party may amend his statement of case at any time before it has been served on any other party.

(2) If his statement of case has been served, a party may amend it only –

(a) with the written consent of all the other parties; or

(b) with the permission of the court.

(3) If a statement of case has been served, an application to amend it by removing, adding or substituting a party must be made in accordance with rule 19.4.

(Part 22 requires amendments to a statement of case to be verified by a statement of truth unless the court orders otherwise)

Once your defence has been served on the claimant, you’d need consent from the claimant to amend your defence. You will need to fill in an N244 form application notice with a copy of your defence and a statement of truth. See applications.

The party who makes the amendments is liable for costs incurred as a result of the amendment, for this reason you should try to get all the facts and documents together before submitting a defence.

If the Claimant refuses to allow you to amend your defence, you will have to make an application to the Court to amend the Defence under CPR 17.1(2)(b) as noted above.

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You have a maximum of 33 days from date printed on claim to file a defence.
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