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Rules of the Superior Courts

Order: 19

Pleading generally

The below amendment(s) have been made to this instrument which can be viewed by clicking on the link(s):

No19-S.I. No. 14 Of 1989: Rules Of The Superior Courts (No. 1), 1989.
No19-S.I. No. 248 Of 2005: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Personal Injuries) 2005
No19-S.I. No. 307 Of 2013: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Lugano Convention, Maintenance And Service) 2013
No19-S.I. No. 9 Of 2016: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Jurisdiction, Recognition And Enforcement Of Judgments) 2016
No19-S.I. No. 186 Of 2017: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003) 2017


1. The plaintiff shall, subject to the provisions of Order 20, and at such time and in such manner as therein prescribed, deliver to the defendant a statement of his claim, and of the relief or remedy to which he claims to be entitled. The defendant shall subject to the provisions of Order 21, and at such time and in such manner as therein prescribed, deliver to the plaintiff his defence, set-off, or counter-claim (if any), and the plaintiff shall, subject to the provisions of Order 23, and at such time and in such manner as therein prescribed, deliver his reply (if any) to such defence, set-off, or counter-claim. Such statements shall be as brief as the nature of the case will admit, and the Taxing Master in adjusting the costs of the action shall, at the instance of any party, or may without any request, inquire into any unnecessary prolixity, and order the costs occasioned by such prolixity to be borne by the party chargeable with the same.

2. A defendant in an action may set-off, or set up by way of counterclaim against the claims of the plaintiff, any right or claim, whether such set-off or counterclaim sound in damages or not, and such set-off or counterclaim shall have the same effect as a cross action, so as to enable the Court to pronounce a final judgement in the same action, both on the original and on the cross claim. But the Court may, on the application of the plaintiff before trial, if in the opinion of the Court such set-off or counterclaim cannot be conveniently disposed of in the pending action, or ought not to be allowed, refuse permission to the defendant to avail himself thereof.

3. Every pleading shall contain, and contain only, a statement in a summary form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence, as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to proved, and shall, when necessary, be divided into paragraphs, numbered consecutively. Dates, sums, and numbers shall be expressed in figures and not in words. Signature of counsel shall not be necessary; but where pleadings have been settled by counsel they shall be signed by him; and if not so settled they shall be signed by the solicitor, or by the party if he sues or defends in person.

4. The headings in Appendix B, Part IV, where applicable, shall be used for all pleadings.

5. (1) In all cases alleging a wrong within the meaning of the Civil Liability Acts, 1961 and 1964, particulars of such wrong, any personal injuries suffered and any items of special damage shall be set out in the statement of claim or counterclaim and particulars of any contributory negligence shall be set out in the defence.

(2) In all cases alleging misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, wilful default or undue influence and in all other cases in which particulars may be necessary, particulars (with dates and items if necessary) shall be set out in the pleadings.

(3) In any case where the particulars, being of debt, expenses or damages, exceed three folios that fact must be so stated with a reference to full particulars already delivered or to be delivered with the pleadings.

6. In probate actions it shall be stated with regard to every claim or defence which is pleaded, what is the substance of the case on which it is intended to rely; and further:

(1) where undue influence is pleaded, the party making such plea shall, before the case is set down for trial, give particulars of the names of the persons against whom the charge of undue influence is preferred, the nature of the conduct alleged to constitute the undue influence and the dates upon which the acts alleged to constitute undue influence were exercised; and

(2) where it is pleaded that the testator was not of sound disposing mind, the party making such plea shall, before the case is set down for trial, give particulars of any specific instance of delusion or mental incapacity; and

(3) except by leave of the Court, no evidence shall be given of any other instance of undue influence or delusion or mental incapacity at the trial.

7. (1) A further and better statement of the nature of the claim or defence, or further and better particulars of any matter stated in any pleading, notice or written proceeding requiring particulars, may in all cases be ordered, upon such terms, as to costs and otherwise, as may be just.

(2) Before applying under this rule to the Court a party may apply for particulars by letter. The costs of each letter and of any particulars delivered pursuant thereto shall be allowable on taxation. In dealing with the costs of any application for particulars, the provisions of this paragraph shall be taken into consideration by the Court.

(3) Particulars shall not be ordered under this rule to be delivered before defence or reply, as the case may be, unless the Court shall be of opinion that they are necessary or desirable to enable the defendant or plaintiff, as the case may be, to plead or ought for any other special reason to be so delivered.

8. The party at whose instance particulars have been delivered under an order of the Court shall, unless the order otherwise provides, have the same length of time for pleading after the delivery of the particulars that he had at the date of the service of the notice of the application. Save as in this rule provided, an order for particulars shall not, unless the order otherwise provides, operate as a stay of proceedings, or give any extension of time.

9. Every pleading which shall contain less than fifteen folios (every figure being counted as one word) may be either printed or written, or partly printed and partly written, and every other pleading, not being a petition, shall be printed unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

10. Every pleading or other document required to be delivered to a party, or between parties, shall be delivered to the solicitor of every party who appears by a solicitor, or to the party if he does not appear by a solicitor, but if no appearance has been entered for any party, then such pleading or document shall be delivered by being filed with the proper officer of the Central Office.

11. Every pleading shall be delivered between parties, and shall, in addition to the matters specified in Order 121, rule 4, contain reference to the record number of the action, the Court (if any) to which the action is assigned, the title of the action and the description of the pleading.

12. Nothing in these Rules contained shall affect the right of any defendant to plead not guilty by statute. Every defence of not guilty by statute shall have the same effect as a plea of not guilty by statute has heretofore had. If the defendant so plead he shall not plead any other defence to the same cause of action without the leave of the Court.

13. Every allegation of fact in any pleading, not being a petition, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication, or stated to be not admitted in the pleading of the opposite party, shall be taken to be admitted, except as against an infant, or person of unsound mind.

14. Any condition precedent, the performance or occurrence of which is intended to be contested, shall be distinctly specified in his pleading by the plaintiff or defendant (as the case may be) and subject thereto, an averment of the performance or occurrence of all conditions precedent necessary for the case of the plaintiff or defendant shall be implied in his pleading.

15. The defendant or plaintiff (as the case may be) must raise by his pleading all matters which show the action or counterclaim not to be maintainable, or that the transaction is either void or voidable in point of law, and all such grounds of defence or reply, as the case may be, as if not raised would be likely to take the opposite party by surprise, or would raise issues of fact not arising out of the preceding pleadings, as, for instance, fraud, Statute of Limitations, release, payment, performance, facts showing illegality either by statute or common law, or Statute of Frauds.

16. No pleading, not being a petition, shall, except by way of amendment, raise any new ground of claim or contain any allegation of fact inconsistent with the previous pleadings of the party pleading the same.

17. It shall not be sufficient for a defendant in his statement of defence to deny generally the grounds alleged by the statement of claim, or for a plaintiff in his reply to deny generally the grounds alleged in a defence by way of counterclaim, but each party must deal specifically with each allegation of fact of which he does not admit the truth, except damages.

18. Subject to rule 17, the plaintiff by his reply may join issue upon the defence, and each party in his pleading (if any) subsequent to reply may join issue upon the previous pleading. Such joinder of issue shall operate as a denial of every material allegation of fact in the pleading upon which issue is joined, but it may except any facts which the party may be willing to admit, and shall then operate as a denial of the facts not so admitted.

19. When a party in any pleading denies an allegation of fact in the previous pleading of the opposite party, he must not do so evasively, but answer the point of substance. Thus, if it be alleged that he received a certain sum of money, it shall not be sufficient to deny that he received that particular amount, but he must deny that he received that sum or any part thereof, or else set out how much he received. And if an allegation is made with divers circumstances, it shall not be sufficient to deny it along with those circumstances.

20. When a contract, promise, or agreement is alleged in any pleading, a bare denial of the same by the opposite party shall be construed only as a denial in fact of the express contract, promise, or agreement alleged, or of the matters of fact from which the same may be implied by law, and not as a denial of the legality or sufficiency in law of such contract, promise, or agreement, whether with reference to the Statute of Frauds or otherwise.

21. Wherever the contents of any document are material it shall be sufficient in any pleading to state the effect thereof as briefly as possible, without setting out the whole or any part thereof unless the precise words of the document or any part thereof are material.

22. Wherever it is material to allege malice, fraudulent intention, knowledge, or other condition of the mind of any person, it shall be sufficient to allege the same as a fact without setting out the circumstances from which the same is to be inferred.

23. Wherever it is material to allege notice to any person of any fact, matter, or thing, it shall be sufficient to allege such notice as a fact, unless the form or the precise terms of such notice, or the circumstances from which such notice is to be inferred, be material.

24. Whenever any contract or any relation between any persons is to be implied from a series of letters or conversations, or otherwise from a number of circumstances, it shall be sufficient to allege such contract or relation as a fact, and to refer generally to such letters, conversations, or circumstances without setting them out in detail. And if in such case the person so pleading desires to rely in the alternative upon more contracts or relations than one as to be implied from such circumstances, he may state the same in the alternative.

25. Neither party need in any pleading allege any matter of fact which the law presumes in his favour or as to which the burden of proof lies upon the other side, unless the same has first been specifically denied (e.g., consideration for a bill of exchange, where the plaintiff sues only on the bill, and not for the consideration as a substantive ground of claim).

26. No technical objection shall be raised to any pleading on the ground of any alleged want of form.

27. The Court may at any stage of the proceedings order to be struck out or amended any matter in any indorsement or pleading which may be unnecessary or scandalous, or which may tend to prejudice, embarrass, or delay the fair trial of the action; and may in any such case, if it shall think fit, order the costs of the application to be paid as between solicitor and client.

28. The Court may order any pleading to be struck out, on the ground that it discloses no reasonable cause of action or answer and in any such case or in case of the action or defence being shown by the pleadings to be frivolous or vexatious, the Court may order the action to be stayed or dismissed, or judgement to be entered accordingly, as may be just.

29. No action or pleading shall be open to objection on the ground that a merely declaratory judgement or order is sought thereby, and the Court may, if it thinks fit, make binding declarations of right whether any consequential relief is or could be claimed or not.