Contributed By Gilat, Bareket & Co., Reinhold Cohn Group
A lawsuit is initiated by filing a statement of claims, which starts the exchange of pleadings. The statement of claims must set forth the facts that if subsequently proven establish the plaintiff’s cause of action, and thus requires substantially more detail than a complaint filed in the United States.
Nevertheless, the plaintiff need not prove any evidence at the stage of filing the statement of claims but will typically undertake private fact-finding and gathering of evidence before bringing a legal action, because the statement of claims must set forth in some detail the facts that support the plaintiff’s cause of action.
The defendant must respond with a defence statement within 30 days of being served with the statement of claims. The defence statement must set out all the material facts underlying the defences raised by the defendant. The plaintiff is entitled, but not obligated, to respond to the defence statement with a response statement within 30 days.
The case then proceeds to pre-trial hearing, which is intended for delineating issues in dispute between the parties and in which the parties are encouraged to resolve discovery and interrogatory controversies. If not settled, the case proceeds to trial. The judge prescribes the schedule for the submission of evidence, usually by way of written affidavits and expert opinions.
There may be another oral hearing before the judge to ensure that all the evidence has been submitted. Thereafter a trial hearing is held where the witnesses and experts are cross-examined. Afterwards, the parties exchange summations (usually in writing), and the judge later hands down the judgment.