What is a statement of defense?
A statement of defense is a document that is submitted as a response to a statement of claim, in which the defendant lists all the defense claims in relation to the plaintiff's claims. Failure to submit a statement of defense at all or on time will lead to a judgment against the defendant, in which case the defendant will have to submit a request to cancel a judgment given in the absence of a defense, or act in accordance with the provisions of the judgment (something that may cost the defendant dearly. Filing a request to cancel a judgment may also involve in terms of the defendant with a lot of money).
It is very important to prepare a statement of defense with the help of an experienced lawyer , especially when it comes to claims that deal with significant sums of money or issues of great value (for example, disputes regarding real estate ownership , inheritance disputes , disputes regarding an expensive car that has had an accident , etc.).
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you/therefore is not to save money at this stage, and at the very least consult with a lawyer so that you don't prepare the statement of defense yourself and end up doing yourself more harm than good. The damage you cause yourself will be very difficult to repair (and sometimes even impossible), and will cost you much more money compared to properly handling the claim in the first place.
Attorney Eddie Blitshtein represented and represents many plaintiffs and defendants for over a decade in a variety of legal issues, in the Magistrate's, District and Supreme Courts. As much as you need professional legal support, you are welcome to contact our office.
In the vast majority of lawsuits currently submitted to the courts, the submission of a statement of defense must be made in accordance with the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018 (the new regulations). Claims worded not in accordance with the new regulations).
How to write a statement of defense according to the new regulations is already a much more complex question, and you will discover the answer to it if you read the article carefully to the end. In addition, you will find out in this article when you need to file a statement of defense as part of various lawsuits.
How do you write a statement of defense in small claims?
A small claim procedure is initially designed for people who are not lawyers and you are not expected to know all the legislation or rulings. What is expected of you is to address the plaintiff's claims, present your position, and attach relevant documents.
The website of the Ministry of Justice details what to write and how to submit a statement of defense for a small claim. To understand how to write a statement of defense in small claims, you are also invited to download a statement of defense in a small claim for example (click on the links to reach the relevant information).
In general, there is no requirement for a legal procedure in a small claims court, and the statement of defense can be drafted in any form you see fit, even by hand. The most important thing to pay attention to is a description of the relevant facts, the mention of the witnesses who can help you, and the attachment of the documents that can support your claims.
How do you write a statement of defense for a peace court or a district court?
In order to understand how to write a statement of defense to a magistrate or district court or when to file a statement of defense, you must be familiar with the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018. Regarding the deadlines for submitting a statement of defense, Regulation 9(b) states as follows:
The statement of defense shall be submitted within sixty days from the date of service of the statement of claim to the defendant, and in a claim concerning medical negligence, the statement of defense shall be submitted within 120 days of the date of service of the statement of claim to the defendant;The court may extend the aforementioned deadlines if it is convinced that there are reasons justifying it.
That is, in matters that are not relevant to medical negligence, the statement of defense (in a claim for an amount exceeding NIS 75,000) will be submitted to the court within 60 days from the date the statement of claim is served on the defendant.
Regulations 9(c) and 9(d) specify into which parts the statement of defense must be divided and the length of each part (a deviation from these instructions may lead to the statement of defense not being accepted into the court file by the legal secretary, so it is important to know how to write a statement of defense correctly ):
(c) Statement of claim and statement of defense shall include three parts according to the order detailed below:
(2) the summary of the allegations;
(3) Details of the claims.
(d)The second part of the pleadings shall not exceed two pages and the third part shall not exceed nine pages if submitted to a magistrate's court, and respectively three and twelve pages if submitted to a district court;However, in a claim for financial relief in a district court whose amount exceeds two and a half million new shekels and in a claim for compensation due to bodily injury and a claim based on the law on compensation for victims of road accidents submitted to the district court, the second part of the pleadings shall not exceed five pages and the third part shall not exceed twenty-five pages. .
That is, from a formal point of view, the statement of defense is divided into three parts, with the second part not exceeding two pages and the third part not exceeding 9 pages if the statement of defense is submitted to the Magistrate's Court or 12 pages if the statement of defense is submitted to the district court (except in claims relevant to personal injuries or compensation claims for victims car accidents).
What is written in each part of a defense letter?
Even in this case you don't have to guess because the civil procedure regulations specify this in regulations 12-15:
12. A statement of defense will include in its first part only the following details and according to the order detailed below:
(1) the judicial court to which the statement of claim was submitted as well as the number of the case in the court;
(2) the name of the plaintiff and his lawyer and their details as they appear in the statement of claim and the name of the defendant and his identity number;
(3) the name of the defendant's attorney if he is represented, including his license number;
(4) address and contact details of the defendant and his lawyer;
(5) If the defendant is a legal incompetent or a minor, as defined in the Legal Qualifications and Guardianships Law – specifying this fact, or a corporation – specifying this fact and its way of incorporation;
(7) The deadline for submitting the statement of defense according to Rule 30.
Summary of the claims in the defense
13. In the second part of the statement of defense, the litigant will detail only these matters and according to the order detailed below:
(1) preliminary claims;
(2) the summary of the defense arguments which will be detailed in the order of the grounds of the claim;
(3) Arguments regarding the requested relief.
The third part of the statement of claims
14. (a) The third part of the pleadings shall include the details of the facts that serve as a basis for the pleadings and any additional information, the purpose of which is to assist in clarifying the dispute and focusing the divisions between the litigants.
(b) The defendant will be deemed to have admitted all the facts included in the statement of claim, except for those that he denied explicitly and in detail in the third part of the statement of defense, however, regarding the rate of damages, it will be considered as disputed unless the defendant has expressly admitted it.
Appendices to the pleadings
15. (a) Only these documents will be attached to the pleadings and they will be the appendices of the pleadings:
(1) A copy of an essential document and any other document used in the basis of what is alleged in the pleadings;If the document is not in his possession, it will be indicated by whom or where it is located, to the best of the party's knowledge;
(2) An opinion of a medical expert that the litigant intends to rely on during the trial.
(3) In an action for compensation due to bodily injury, the plaintiff shall attach to the statement of claim a waiver of medical confidentiality, drawn up according to the wording of Form 1 in the first appendix.
(b) Notwithstanding what is stated in sub-regulation (a), a party may attach to the pleadings the opinion of an expert who is not in the field of medicine.
Deadline for submitting the statement of defense as part of a small claim
This issue is regulated in the Small Claims Jurisdiction Regulations (Procedures), 1976-1976. Regulation 4(b) states as follows:
(b) In the subpoena, the defendant will be invited to submit a statement of defense within 30 days from the date of issuance of the subpoena, and to appear in court on the date specified in the subpoena – if he submitted a statement of defense as mentioned.
That is, if they filed a small claim against you, you must defend yourself within 30 days from the date of the summons (comes together with the claim).
Deadline for submitting a statement of defense as part of a lawsuit in a fast-track procedure
Rule 80(a) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018 states as follows:
80. (a) A statement of defense in an expedited trial course shall be submitted within forty-five days from the date of the filing of the statement of claim with the defendant.
That is, the deadline for filing a statement of defense in an expedited lawsuit (expedited hearing) is within 45 days from the date of receipt of the statement of claim by the defendant .
The deadline for submitting the statement of defense as part of a lawsuit under ordinary law
Defense as part of a lawsuit in ordinary procedure is regulated in Rule 9(b) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018, which states as follows:
(b) A statement of defense shall be submitted within sixty days from the date of service of the statement of claim to the defendant, and in a claim concerning medical negligence, the statement of defense shall be submitted within 120 days of the date of service of the statement of claim to the defendant;The court may extend the aforementioned deadlines if it is convinced that there are reasons justifying it.
Deadline for submitting the statement of defense as part of a claim for a fixed amount
A claim for a fixed amount is a unique procedure in which the claim is submitted directly for enforcement. That is, initially the plaintiff and the defendant do not come to the court at all but proceed through the enforcement office.
In this case, the defendant does not automatically have an amount to defend himself. Instead of submitting a statement of defense, an objection must be submitted within 60 days (please note – this period of time is due to the corona epidemic. In the normal situation, this is a period of 30 days).
This matter is regulated in section 81a1(d) of the Execution Law, which states as follows:
(1) The defendant may submit an objection to the request for execution, including an objection on the grounds that the conditions stipulated in subsection (a) were not met in the claim,within 60 days from the date of the invention of the warningaccording to the provisions of subsection (e);An affidavit to verify the underlying facts will be attached to the objection, as well as any document that supports the objection;
(2) an objection has been submitted, the enforcement registrar will delay the execution of the request and forward the claim and the objection to the court;For the purpose of the hearing in court, the objection will be considered as a request for permission to defend in summary judgment according to the rules of procedure.
Deadline for submitting the statement of defense as part of a class action
A class action does not begin with the filing of a statement of claim , but rather with the submission of an application for approval of a class action . For this reason, the respondent in the class action should submit an answer to the request for approval of a class action. The respondent must submit the answer to the request for approval of a class action within 90 days. This matter is fixed in regulation 2(c) of class action regulations. 2010:
The respondent may respond to the request withinninety days from the day it was served to himor within another time set by the court;In his answer, he will detail his arguments, including references, and will attach an affidavit to verify the facts used as a basis for the answer;An affidavit that was not attached to the answer when it was submitted, will not be attached to it except with the permission of the court.
In class actions, it is very important to be represented by an experienced class action lawyer who will make sure to prepare an appropriate defense strategy, otherwise the consequences for the defendant business may be devastating.
Filing a statement of defense during recess
Almost no one bothers to defend himself during the recess of the courts. The reason for this is that the period of rest is not counted in the period of days at the end of which one must defend himself. This matter is regulated in Rule 179(b) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, which states as follows:
(b) A recess period of the court shall not be included in the number of days set forth in these regulations or set by the court, unless the court has ordered otherwise.
That is, as long as the court has not determined otherwise, the period of recess is not counted in the number of days for the purpose of filing a defense.
What happens if you do not submit a statement of defense on time?
A defendant who does not meet his obligation to submit a statement of defense on time runs the risk that the plaintiff will submit a request for a judgment in the absence of a defense , and the court will be entitled to issue a judgment based on what is stated in the statement of claim.
In order to avoid rendering a verdict in the absence of a defense, a defendant who failed to defend himself in time must submit a request for an extension to submit his statement of defense. When lawyers representing the parties are involved in the proceedings, a request of this kind is submitted to the court by agreement, and if there is no agreement, then the defendant must specify the reasons for which, in his opinion, he should be allowed additional time for submitting his statement of defense, and specify why the submission was not made on time.
There are cases in which the submission of a statement of defense is not necessary because the parties reached an agreement between themselves after the submission of the statement of claim. In these cases, the parties submit a notice to the court that they have reached a settlement and request to dismiss/delete the claim without an order for costs and/or give effect to a judgment for their agreements.
As promised, here is an example of a defense letter to a peace court .
A statement of defense is one of the most important letters of allegation for the defendant, because failure to submit it on time may lead to the submission of a request for a judgment in the absence of a defense. If a verdict is obtained in the absence of a defense, the defendant's situation becomes much more complex (but certainly not hopeless).
In different procedures, the deadline for submitting a statement of defense may be different (for example: the deadline for submitting a statement of defense in a normal court order is within 60 days from the date of receipt of the statement of claim. In contrast, in the context of a speedy hearing, the deadline for submitting the statement of defense is only 45 days from the date of receipt of the statement of claim).
It is very important to be careful to prepare a statement of defense in accordance with the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018, otherwise the legal secretary may not accept the statement of defense for the court file.
Generally, there is no obligation to attach all the defendant's evidence to the statement of defense. The deadline for the submission of the defendant's evidence is usually at the time of submission of the first witness statement on his behalf.
It is very important to refer to the plaintiff's claims in the defense and deny them or give them some kind of explanation/reference. A claim in the statement of claim that was not denied by the defendant is considered true and is no longer in dispute between the parties.
In order to prepare or submit a statement of defense correctly, it is very worthwhile to hire the services of an experienced claims lawyer . You are welcome to contact attorney Eddie Blitshtein regarding these matters .