How to Respond to an Action?
When you receive a Notice for Responding to an Action issued by the court, it means that someone has filed a lawsuit to the court against you and you are now a defendant. Therefore, you should actively respond to the action in accordance with the court¡¯s instruction and relevant laws and regulations. In doing so, you may also protect your legal rights and interests by legal means.
Accepting the case before hearing it does not mean that the court supports the claims filed by the plaintiff against you. In addition, the court naming you as defendant does not mean that the court believes you are in the wrong. In accordance with relevant legal provisions, all parties to a civil action shall have equal procedural rights. In judicial practice, for the majority of the time, the defendant wins a lawsuit. To notify the defendant to respond an action after accepting the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff is to offer the defendant an opportunity to file a defense. Only if the defendant actively responds to the action and adequately exercises his/her rights vested by law will he/she protects his/her legal rights and interests.
Activities for responding to an action shall consist of the following aspects:
1. Signing for the litigious documents served by the court, including the notice for responding to an action, summons and the notice for producing evidence. In signing for the litigious documents served by the court, you may learn about the arrangement for the hearing of the subject case, who is filing the lawsuit against you and why and what the plaintiff is claiming for against you. Therefore, you may file a pointed defend to the claims filed by the plaintiff.
2. You may participate in the legal proceedings by yourself or byentrusting 1 to 2 proxies to act on your behalf if necessary. In case a proxy is entrusted for the action, a power of attorney shall be submitted to the court. The signature or stamp of the principal is required where the power of attorney is issued by a natural person and the signature of a legal representative and the official stamp is required if it is to be issued by a legal person. The power of attorney must specify the matters and the scope of the authority entrusted. Notarization and certification is required for the power of attorney mailed or delivered from a citizen who is residing abroad.
3. Submitting a statement of defense. In accordance with relevant provisions, the defendant shall submit a written statement of defense within 15 days after receiving the copy of the statement of claim. If the defendant is a foreigner, the time period for submitting a statement of defense shall be 30 days. The following two factors shall be taken into consideration when drafting a written statement of defense: 1) focus on one of the claims filed by the opponent party, one or several factual grounds stated on the statement of claim submitted by the opponent party; 2) speaking with facts, to rebut the accusation made by the opponent party with facts and grounds.
You may admit the claims filed by the plaintiff or rebut them when drafting a written statement of defense. In case you believe that the opponent party was in violation of the contract or has infringed upon your legal rights in respect of the subject dispute, you may file a counterclaim against him/her.
4. Collecting and submitting evidence. You shall peruse the notice of producing evidence issued by the court and submit relevant evidences strictly pursuant to the court¡¯s requirements. In this regard, you may refer to the following chapter¡ªLet the Evidence speaks: How to collect and submit Evidences.
5. Attending the court hearing on schedule. Court is the place where the parties concerned could argue with each other face to face so as to defend themselves. To attend the court hearing, one may clarify his/her stance to the judge and could learn about the exact details of the opponent party. In case you cannot attend the court hearing as scheduled for any justifiable reason, you may apply to the court for alteration of the time for court hearing.
In case you are dissatisfied with the judgment or civil ruling rendered by the court, you may file an appeal. The time limit for filing an appeal against a judgment shall be 10 days and 15 days for filing an appeal against a civil ruling. The time limit for a party which has no residence within the territory of the People¡¯s Republic of China to file an appeal against the judgment or civil ruling rendered by the court of first instance shall be 30 days. Such time limit shall be calculated from the next date of service of the written judgment or civil ruling. For more details, please refer to the chapter¡ªHow to file an Appeal.