Bringing or Defending a Civil Case
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6. What happens if the defendant files a defence (and counterclaim)?

The plaintiff may file a reply to a defence within 28 days after receiving the defence, setting out additional facts in answer to the defence. However, even if the plaintiff does not file a reply, the allegations in the defence are deemed to be denied by the plaintiff.

If the defendant files a counterclaim, the plaintiff will have to file a defence to the counterclaim within 28 days after the counterclaim is served on the plaintiff, if the plaintiff wishes to dispute it. The defendant can apply for a court judgment against the plaintiff, in default of defence to the counterclaim, if the plaintiff fails to dispute the counterclaim within the allotted time. You should note that as far as the counterclaim is concerned, the plaintiff has become a defendant.

There are no prescribed forms for a reply or defence to a counterclaim. The plaintiff should combine the reply and any defence to the counterclaim in one single document.

Please click here for more guidelines (given by the Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants) for preparing a reply and defence to a counterclaim, and to get a sample of this document.

The pleadings are closed 14 days after the filing of the defence and counterclaim.

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