Thursday, July 21, 2011

Focus on Litigation: Raising Procedural and Substantive Defences

When defending against litigation proceedings in Oman, it is crucial not only to formulate the right defences, but also to deploy them at the right time.

It is a little-known point of Omani law that, in any Omani court litigation, all procedural defences must be stated at the beginning of the very first defence submission.

For example, if the Defendant has an argument that the Oman Courts should decline jurisdiction to hear the dispute, this contention must be explained and detailed in full at the start of the written Defence. The Oman Courts usually reject a procedural argument if it is not raised at the commencement of the case.

Similarly, it is also important to raise substantive defences at the outset of the litigation. If the written Defence does not include substantive (i.e non-procedural) lines of defence, in addition to procedural defences, then there is a risk to the Defendant. Namely, the Oman Courts may reserve the matter for judgment, reject the procedural argument(s) and then state that the defendant has accepted liability for the substantive claim against it by refusing to file any substantive lines of defence.

Accordingly, we habitually advise that a written Defence should always start with procedural defences, and should also include substantive defences as well.