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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 Citizen X'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 Citizen X; 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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    Drafting a PLEA

    Good day

    I need assistance in drafting a PLEA

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    Diamond Member Citizen X's Avatar
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    Very good morning to you Mamokete,

    LTC Harms, from his leading book “Amlers Precedents of Pleadings,” can best answer your question:

    Pleadings and love letters have much in common: both are personal and reflect somewhat of the author’s personality. Precedents in either instance are dangerous because they tend to be inapplicable to the facts under consideration. Each sets out and explains the position of the parties involved. If too much or too little is said, problems arise. They provide embarrassing evidence of the original perceptions and intentions of the author and never please successors in title.
    LTC Harms, Pretoria. February 2015

    To add, a plea is a brief, clear, concise answer to each individual paragraph of allegation found in either the simple summons or the combined summons.

    Look at the example:

    Suppose the combined summons includes the following as the first four paragraphs.
    1.
    The Plaintiff is ABC bank, a bank registered in terms of the laws of South Africa
    2.
    The Defendant is Jack Joap Soap supply, a Close Corporation, duly registered in terms of the laws of the Republic of South Africa which is situated at Pretoria

    3.

    On or about October 2020, the parties entered into a written agreement for a specialized service, for the supply of liquid soap
    4.
    The Plaintiff was represented by Mr D and the Defendant was represented by Mr H.
    5. On or about November 2020, the defendant breached the contract by no supplying the soap.
    This is how it must be answered in practice in the plea

    AD PARAGRAPH 1 THEREOF
    The defendant admits the contents of this paragraph.
    AD PARAGRAPH 2 THEREOF
    The defendant admits the contents of this paragraph
    AD PARAGRAPH 3 THEREOF
    The defendant admits the contents of the of this paragraph
    AD PARAGRAPH 4 THEREOF
    The defendant denies the contents of this paragraph, as if specifically traversed and puts the plaintiff to the proof thereof. The defendant submits, the Plaintiff breached the contract. The Defendant submits as his defence exception non adempleti contractus

    Lately I've been quite reluctant to state things as they randomly just appear in mind, lest it be misinterpreted!(will explain later, it has everything to do with the communication model, and a problem with decoding because of different channels of communication.)

    See I've identified the exact problem!

    Sometimes when you really admire and look up to an author for instance one may employ certain words and phrases that they use. Since this is a apparently a crime equivalent to High Treason. I'll refrain from doing so going forward.


    In this instance I have the emails as evidence though!

    When I was in my first year of law school I wanted to know literally everything! It was beyond the remit of a first year law student to be familiar with pleadings. I was very familiar because I researched several books on the matter. The complex area of law were not my problem. It was the small things.

    I didn't know what " AD," in "AD paragraph 1 meant. So I emailed all my lecturers at the time. They couldn't answer me. This nagged at me for several months.

    I got my answer from solving a different riddle. I was into Biblical eschatology as at this time. I knew what BC meant, but couldn't reconcile AD to certain important years as I thought that it meant "After the death of Christ;" I did get my answer. "AD," means "in the year of the Lord."

    The implication is that "AD paragraph 1," means in paragraph 1 of the plaintiff's summons.

    My lecturers were shocked when I emailed them this explanation! They said inter alia that after years of practicing law they never thought about it!
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    Thank you

    Is there a prescribed form to write the plea or I use a word document?

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    Diamond Member Citizen X's Avatar
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    Very good morning to you Mamokete,

    I just sent you a private message.
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    Diamond Member Citizen X's Avatar
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    Very good day to you Mamokete,

    I have responded to your email. I did state and confirm for the record that I will assist you free of charge!

    Hereís the thing, Iím on a sabbatical. As such Iím focusing on just a couple of things for the better part of 2021. UI need all the goodwill I can possible get. What Iím contemplating is against all the odds.

    Furthermore, Iíve been thinking a lot about John Rawls lately. John Rawls would say something like this. The distribution of rights, benefits and services should be to the maximum benefit of the maximum amount of people. Where this is impossible then this distribution simply must be to the maximum benefit of the poorest person in society or the least advantaged in a specific category.

    To apply his philosophy to your entire individual situation, you came to TheForumSA because you clearly donít have adequate legal service that you can afford alternatively these legal services is beyond your reach for whatever reason.

    Iíve been blessed in certain ways so I too would like to give back where I can within reason.

    My resolve is always: Do you prefer my thinking as it then was? Or do you prefer my current thinking?

    Thinking in and of itself is not constant and enduring. It changes and evolves. Hopefully for the better and never for the worse!
    Last edited by Citizen X; 28-Feb-21 at 07:32 AM.
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