How to Draft a Reply

This article on how to draft a reply contains some tips on when a reply is needed and what to include. The article is geared towards Superior Court (many, but not all concepts will apply to Small Claims Court too). It is legal information, not legal advice. I’ve read a lot of replies that break the rules. The pleadings are the first thing a Judge looks at for a trial and so it’s best to stay onside of the rules.

If you want to think about the bigger picture of your case, our Trial Methodology may help you think about things. Also our article Steps in a Superior Court Lawsuit outlines the road you’re about to embark on.

A reply is not a mandatory pleading according to rule 25.08. The first question to ask is whether a reply is necessary. All allegations in the defence are automatically denied by virtue of rule 25.08(4). A reply is necessary where the plaintiff wants to set out a version of facts that is different than the defence and not already alleged in the statement of claim. The applicable rule is 25.08(1). A reply is also necessary to avoid surprising the other side.

If proceeding with a reply, what precedent or template are you using for your reply? You should be able to re-use your statement of claim, typing in the Court file no. or you can download a professional formatted reply, including a backsheet from our Court form library by clicking here.

Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the reply set out what is admitted, denied and unknown respectively. This is done by referencing which paragraphs of the statement of defence are admitted, denied or for which there is no knowledge.

The body of the reply sets out factual allegations that are different from the defence and not already pled in the statement of claim. Or that avoid surprising the defendant. Rule 25.06 applies to the reply, as it does to all pleadings.

Like anything you write, it is important to review and edit. With drafting complete, a reply is ready to be served and filed.

Consultation to Review Draft Reply

We are regularly consulted on draft replies. Please feel free to set up a trial consultation to discuss further.

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