In the Malaysian legal system, when you are served with a lawsuit, you are typically required to enter an appearance and defend yourself within a specified period. Failure to do so can lead to a default judgment against you under Order 13 of the Rules of Court 2012. Understanding the implications of choosing not to defend or enter an appearance is crucial to protecting your legal rights and interests.

What is a Default Judgment?

A default judgment is a binding judgment in favour of the plaintiff when the defendant fails to contest the case. Under Order 13, this occurs when the defendant does not enter an appearance or fails to file a defense within the time limits set by the court. Essentially, it means that the court assumes the plaintiff’s claims are valid and grants the relief sought without hearing the defendant’s side.

Consequences of Not Defending or Entering an Appearance

  1. Automatic Liability: By not entering an appearance or defending the case, you essentially forfeit your right to challenge the plaintiff’s claims. The court will accept the plaintiff’s assertions as true, and you will be held liable for the relief they seek, whether it’s a monetary judgment, an injunction, or other remedies.
  2. Enforcement Actions: Once a default judgment is granted, the plaintiff can take steps to enforce the judgment. This might include garnishing your wages, seizing your assets, or other enforcement mechanisms available under Malaysian law.
  3. Loss of Right to Present Your Case: Default judgment precludes you from presenting any defenses or counterclaims you might have had. This can be particularly detrimental if you have valid defenses or if the plaintiff’s claims are exaggerated or unfounded.
  4. Credit and Reputation Impact: A default judgment can adversely affect your credit rating and reputation. It becomes a matter of public record and can be used against you in future legal or financial transactions.

Enter Appearance

However, as a general guideline, it’s crucial to act promptly upon receiving any legal documents, including summons or complaints. Typically, there is a specified period within which you must enter appearance and file a defense. This period is often set by the court rules or by the relevant laws governing civil procedure.

Your lawyer can provide you with accurate advice tailored to your situation, including:

  1. Understanding the Deadline: Your lawyer will inform you of the deadline by which you must enter appearance and file a defense. This deadline is crucial, as failing to meet it can lead to a default judgment being entered against you.
  2. Preparing the Necessary Documents: Your lawyer will assist you in preparing and filing the necessary documents, such as a memorandum of appearance and a statement of defense. These documents are essential for formally responding to the lawsuit.
  3. Strategic Considerations: Your lawyer will discuss the strategic implications of entering appearance and filing a defense. This includes evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case, exploring potential defenses, and considering negotiation or settlement options.
  4. Compliance with Court Procedures: Your lawyer will ensure that all procedural requirements are met, such as serving copies of documents on the opposing party and adhering to any court-mandated timelines.
  5. Potential Extensions or Set Aside: In some cases, it may be possible to seek extensions of time or set aside the default judgment. Your lawyer can advise you on whether such options are available and appropriate in your case.

Remember, timely action is crucial in legal proceedings. Delaying or failing to enter appearance can have serious consequences, including the risk of a default judgment being entered against you. Therefore, it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible after being served with any legal documents.

Recommended Posts