Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Focus on Litigation: Joining Co-Defendants

A defendant in an Omani court case always should consider whether the culpability in fact lies with a party who has not been named as a defendant by the Claimant.

The ability for a defendant in an Omani court case to join in co-defendants is more straight-forward than might be appreciated. This applies equally to joining in Omani and non-Omani parties.

The procedure for joining a co-defendant involves the named defendant making a paper application to the court, attaching copies of the commercial registration documents in respect of the prospective co-defendant(s). This corporate documentation should be obtained from the relevant public register in the country where the entity in question is incorporated.

The defendant also needs to provide the court with full addresses in respect of the co-defendants. Accordingly, we habitually advise that a written Defence always should start with procedural defences, and also should include substantive defences as well.

Provided that a prima facie case is made out, the Omani courts are usually willing to join the other parties into the existing court action as co-defendants.
As an important caveat, we should mention that joining a non-Omani entity may delay the case by some months, as the Omani courts serve such entities with the documentation via diplomatic, country-to-country channels.