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Thread: What is a plea

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    What is a plea

    Hi All

    Was wondering if someone could help answer my question.

    What exactly is a plea?

    I received a combined summons for unpaid credit card debt but i am going to file the notice of intention to defend as i dispute the amount claimed and iv actually been fighting for full statements for about 2 years with no luck and so last week the sherrif knocked on my door and yes i got the summons.
    So what exactly is a plea and why should it be filed 20 days after the intention to defend is filed?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    One for Vanash, I think.

    He did a detailed post on the subject here
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    Diamond Member Vanash Naick's Avatar
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    Good evening Melscake ,
    The link Dave directed you to should put you in a position where you have a fair understanding of what a plea is and perhaps more importantly the structure of the ‘precedent,’/Template. In the correspondence you and I shared I advised you as follows:
    1. “There’s 2 ways you can go about filing a notice of intention to defend: 1: You can use the form on the combined summons, the idea is to make 3 photo copies of it, you then take the original to the clerk of the mentioned court. When you get to that court you simply ask the security or anyone in any office what is the office number of the clerk of civil courts. You go to that office, you then hand the clerk the original, he will stamp it, you then request him to stamp your photocopy(proof that you filed the notice of intention to defend) You now have 2 photocopies. You then go to the plaintiff’s attorneys, you hand them one photocopy and you left them sign the second photocopy, the same photocopy that you let the clerk of courts stamp. When you leave, you will now essentially only have 1 photocopy stamped by the clerk of courts and signed by the plaintiff’s attorney OR you can use the precedent/template that attorneys use(which I attach, simply just amend it, make sure you include both your residential address and your postal address).”
    The reason you want to do this like yesterday is because if you default the plaintiff is well within his rights to start the default judgment process.Thus far, these steps are not exhaustive; the idea is to file this so that you can buy time to get an attorney, either a University law clinic attorney or legal aid board. They will do a means test to determine what you can afford;”
    2. I also emailed you the ‘notice of intention to defend’ template;
    3. Plea:I would like to take this opportunity though just to say a few additional things about a ‘Plea,’ the minute an individual hears the term ‘plea,’ she/he immediately thinks that this means ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. This is not the case! A plea is a defendant’s answer to a plaintiff’s particulars of claim. It’s noteworthy that a civil trial has far more pre trial steps than a criminal trial. Criminal trials are basically a walk in the park whereas a civil trial is definitely not a walk in the park
    4. For clarity I deem it necessary to make reference to a ‘pleadings stage,’ rather than just the plea itself, The pleadings stage starts from the time the summons is sued and ends when a ‘notice of set down’ is served. The date of the trial;
    5. A ‘plea’ is a written document compiled in a standard manner called ‘precerdent,’ or for better understanding a template. I’m by no means suggesting that the very same precedent can be used for every single plea, it cannot! The standard structure can be used but the contents will always be completely different simply because the paragraphs in different summons will contain different contentsl ;
    6. The plea itself was regulated by the now defunct rule 19. The plea is now regulated by amended magistrates court rules: rule 17
    7. You also need to be as clear and concise as is reasonably possible. Evasive tactics and beating around the bush will result in the plaintiff objecting by using what is called al ‘notice of exception,’ so if your plea is defective, the plaintiff can object on the following grounds:
    8. - Vague and embarrassing- Or contains no cause of action or defence-not clear and concise;
    9. The Magistrates Court rules has underwent some revamping over the past 3 years. In the past(the good old days), if you as the defendant had no answer to a specific paragraph in the plaintiff’s particulars of claim, you simply stated, ‘AD para 3: The defendant notes the contents of this paragraph,’ You can no longer do this! Paragraph by paragraph of the plaintiff’s particulars of claim you need to answer very specifically in 3 ways you can either admit the contents of a paragraph or you can deny the contents of a paragraph or confess and avoid the contents of an individual paragraph
    10. In practice the plaintiff’s particulars of claim will be in numeric order i.e. numbered 1, 2,3 etc. You must deal with each paragraph separately. You can refer to the plaintiff’s paragraphs as follows: ‘AD Para 1,” or “ad paragraph one of plaintiff’s particulars of claim.”This simply means to addressing paragraph 1 of the plaintiff’s particulars of claim. So you address the plaintiff’s allegation in that particular paragraph,
    11. Should you not deal with a particular paragraph clearly and concisely, that paragraph will automatically be taken as an admission by you of the contents of that particular paragraph.
    12. I already mentioned that exception would be taken for such a response. ‘The defendant notes the contents of this paragraph. This is evasive, it’s not clear and concise and will be taken to mean that you admit the contents of that individual paragraph! There are certain tricks of the trade though but I will not advise you to employ such techniques, it will be to your detriment! The defendant has no knowledge of the allegations contained in this paragraph and cannot admit orderly the same and puts plaintiff to the proof thereof,” or The defendant has no knowledge of the allegations contained herein and thus denies such allegations”.
    13. Now this has nothing to do with religion, but you need to end your plea with a ‘prayer,’ This is simply just requested that the plaintiff’s claim be dismissed with costs.
    I advised to you file the notice of intention to defend, to buy time, so that you can get an attorney. The legal aid board or a university law clinic. They will conduct a means test based on your monthly income. Many who have taken this route have advised me that they very reasonable!
    Should you request me to specifically draw up your plea, as per our electronic mails you not what my requirements are.
    I wish you everything of the best with your matter! Remember you not on trial for murder!
    Last edited by Vanash Naick; 16-May-12 at 10:00 AM.
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  4. Thank given for this post:

    Dave A (17-May-12), wynn (16-May-12)

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    hi vanash, was just reading the thread. can you give me an example of a counterclaim.

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