After a claim has been commenced, what written documents must (or can) the parties submit and what is the usual timetable?
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
A court proceeding is commenced when the administrative fee has been paid and the court deems that the statement of claim is satisfactory as concerns the requirements of form and content. The court will serve a summons to the defendant ordering the defendant to file a written statement of defence, typically within three weeks. A default award may be rendered against a defendant who fails to respond to the claim after having been served. Once the statement of defence has been filed, the preparation of the case including the timetable for further written submissions is set by the court in consultation with the parties, typically during a preparatory session. There are no further mandatory written submissions but in virtually all cases the parties are required to submit statements of evidence, if it has not been submitted in prior submissions, prior to the main hearing.
Parties must submit all documents they consider crucial to their plea to court, taking into account that the confidentiality of certain documents must always be preserved.
Usually, documents must be submitted with the allegation of the facts they intend to prove. However, it may be possible to submit them to Court up to 20 days before the final hearing.
In certain situations, the Court may allow the parties to submit documents at a later stage of the proceeding if it is shown that they could not be presented earlier or if the submission becomes necessary due to the course of the proceedings.
The parties can submit any written document to support their arguments and there is no strict timetable.
The documents usually submitted are the agreements between the parties, correspondence, independent expert reports, invoices, statements of accounts, notices and other types of documents.
Usually the parties submit all documents in originals as if the photocopy of a document was contested by the opponent, the court cannot base its judgment on the said contested photocopy.
Documents submitted in a foreign language must be translated into Arabic by a duly qualified and registered translator.
The claimant must support documentary evidence to support his claim, and the defendant may submit documentary evidence to rebut the claim. Electronic evidence is recognized. New evidence may be introduced at any stage of the proceedings.
As a rule, the parties are under a duty to give access to objects etc. (including documents) that may constitute evidence in legal proceedings, subject to the limitations in the rules on prohibited evidence and immunity. The parties are usually free to submit whichever written document they want. However, if the document is not relevant for the assessment of the claim, the court may decide that the document has to be removed from the case documents. As part of the preparatory phase, the court will set a date for the completion of the preparatory phase. This wil usually be two or three weeks before the main hearing. After that date, no new documents may be submitted unless certain requirements are met.
In federal court, after service of a complaint, the defendant must serve an answer or other response within 21 days. In certain cases, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss the complaint, which must be made within 21 days of receipt of the summons and complaint. If a motion to dismiss is denied and the case continues, the defendant must serve its answer within 14 days of the notice of the court’s decision.
If a defendant intends to assert a claim against the plaintiff arising out of the same transaction or occurrence that is the subject of plaintiff’s claim, the defendant must assert such claims (“compulsory counterclaims”) in its answer. If a defendant intends to assert against the plaintiff a claim the subject of which is independent of plaintiff’s claim, then the defendant has a choice of inserting the claim in the pending litigation or pursuing a separate action. To the extent a defendant asserts a claim against the plaintiff in the pending action, the plaintiff must respond to the counterclaim within 21 days.
General pleading rules for commercial litigation in state courts are determined by each state’s procedural rules but are generally consistent with federal procedures.
After having received a statement of claim by the plaintiff, the competent court serves the claim on the defendant together with an order to file a statement of defense within four weeks after service (“Klagebeantwortung”). If the defendant misses this four-week period, the plaintiff may request a default judgment. In proceedings at district-court level, a simplified procedure applies and a statement of defense is not required.
As a next step before the oral hearing(s), both parties have the possibility to submit further written statements in order to support their position until one week before the preparatory hearing takes place. Thereafter, the court may order the parties to submit further statements or to provide additional information if necessary.
As already outlined under question 11 above, a simplified procedure applies with respect to monetary claims up to EUR 75,000 (Mahnverfahren). The plaintiff simply has to fill out a standardized form (as a statement of claim), on the basis of which the court then issues a payment order. The defendant has the choice to either pay the claimed amount or to raise an objection within four weeks of service of the payment order. Objections against a payment order exceeding EUR 15,000 need to be in writing and must contain the elements of a statement of defense. In proceedings with an amount in dispute not exceeding EUR 15,000 (district-court level), an objection requires no reasoning and can be made orally before the court. If a valid objection is raised, the payment order will be set aside and an ordinary proceeding will be initiated, which means that a preparatory hearing will be scheduled. However, if the defendant does not raise a valid objection within due time, the payment order becomes binding and enforceable (like a final judgment).