The reply to defence is the claimant’s (optional) opportunity to respond to any points made in the defence which were not dealt with in the claim or particulars of claim. The reply must not bring in any new element of the claim or contradict an earlier statement of case. If the claimant wishes to depart from the case set out in the claim form and particulars of claim, they must amend the claim rather than serve a reply.

No party has a right to file or serve a statement of case after the reply without the court’s permission.

On the filing of a defence, the court will serve a notice of proposed allocation which will also specify a date on which the parties are required to file their directions questionnaires. The reply must usually be filed at the same time as the directions questionnaire.

However, the reply is often combined with the defence to counterclaim. Where this is the case, different time limits will apply for filing and service of defences to counterclaims and replies.

Where the time limit for filing and serving the defence to counterclaim is shorter than the time limit for filing and serving the reply, the defence will normally be filed and served by the same date as the reply (i.e. the later date). However, it may also be necessary to file two separate documents in order to comply with the relevant deadlines.

A reply must be verified by a statement of truth.